AUR 52 01
Australian Universities' Review, vol. 52, no. 1, February 2010.
vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Published by NTEU ISSN 0818–8068 AUR Australian Universities’Review AUR Editor Dr Ian R Dobson AUR Editorial Board Dr Carolyn Allport, NTEU National President Dr Timo Aarrevaara, University of Helsinki Professor Walter Bloom, Murdoch University Dr Anita Devos, Monash University Dr Jamie Doughney, Victoria University Dr Leo Goedegebuure, University of Melbourne Professor Ralph Hall, University of New South Wales Professor Dr Simon Marginson, University of Melbourne Mr Grahame McCulloch, NTEU General Secretary Dr Alex Millmow, University of Ballarat Dr Neil Mudford, UNSW@ADFA Professor Paul Rodan, CQUniversity Dr Leesa Wheelahan, Griffith University Production Design & layout: Paul Clifton Editorial support: Anastasia Kotaidis Cover photograph: ‘Dual’ by Greg Johns, 1981, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide, South Australia. Photo by Arther Ng, www.flickr.com/photos/artiephotography ©2009. Used with permission. Contact Details Australian Universities’ Review, c/- NTEU National Office, PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC Australia 3205 Editorial Policy Book Reviews The Australian Universities’ Review (AUR, formerly Vestes) is published by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) to encourage debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life, with an emphasis on those matters of concern to NTEU members. Books for review should be sent to the Editor. Our policy is to review books dealing either with tertiary education or with matters pertinent to issues in tertiary education. Book reviews should be between 200 and 1200 words; review essays may be longer. Editorial decisions are made by the Editor, assisted by the AUR Editorial Board. The views expressed in articles in this publication, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor, the Editorial Board or the publisher. 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NTEU members may opt for ‘soft delivery’ (email notification rather than printed copy) for all NTEU magazines. To access your membership details, login to the members’ area at www.nteu.org.au. McCallum, D 1990, The social production of merit, Falmer, London. For a reference to a chapter in a collection: McCollow, J & Knight, J 2005, ‘Higher Education in Australia: An Historical Overview’, in Bella, M, McCollow, J & Knight, J (eds), Higher Education in Transition, University of Queensland, Brisbane. For a journal reference: Zappala, J & Lombard, M 1991, ‘The decline of Australian educational salaries’, Australian Bulletin of Labour, 17(1), pp. 76–95. Dates thus: 30 June 1990. ‘ise’ should be used rather than ‘ize’, e.g. organise not organize. ‘per cent’ should be used rather than ‘%’ in the text. Abbreviations should be avoided, but if their use is necessary, they should be explained at their first use. Neither male nor female pronouns should be used to refer to groups containing persons of both sexes. Figures should be provided in EPS, PDF or Excel format, numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear (or are cited). Figures should be drawn precisely and boldly. Photographs and illustrations may be submitted for possible inclusion. Style sheet available at www.aur.org.au/submissions.html vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Published by NTEU ISSN 0818–8068 Australian Universities’ Review 2 Letter from the editor 69 Ian R Dobson 4 Tony Sheil Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much? Why does the development of a world class university system represent a rational, even inevitable, policy approach for Australia in response to world university rankings? Bob Birrell and T Fred Smith Education is regularly publicised as Australia’s third-largest export behind coal and iron ore, but it is likely that the actual export value of education is about half the stated figure. 13 Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’ OPINION 77 As temples of higher learning, university mottos are particularly partial to Latin phraseology. The more obscure the phrase, the better. What are the drivers for ‘education for sustainability’ that exist in universities and the rationales that underpin higher education’s reluctance to engage more formally in education for sustainability? REVIEWS Academics and the media in Australia 81 Graeme Orr There are three models through which academics can engage with the media: as generalist or public intellectual; as advocate or activist; and as educator or sub-disciplinary expert. 32 Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up? Two decades on from the abolition of the binary divide in higher education in Australia, what has happened to the relative research performance of institutions that started from quite diverse positions? 83 Review by Patricia Kerslake 85 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern Review by Patricia Kerslake 87 Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees Margaret Lindorff Researchers should become more engaged with the ethical issues associated with their research, and human research ethics committees and other institutional ethical review bodies should be viewed as resources which add value to the research process. 60 All we are saying…. Peace education: Exploring ethical and philosophical foundations by James Page. Studied success Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities by William G Bowen, Matthew M Chingos & Michael S McPherson. Staff employed in casual positions often hold more than one job, at more than one institution and are seeking job security. They frequently, but unsuccessfully use casual work as a career strategy. The result is frustrated careers. 51 School? Choice! School choice – How parents negotiate the new school market in Australia by Craig Campbell, Helen Proctor and Geoffrey Sherington. Review by Georgina Tsolidis Ross Williams 37 Run that sexy motto by me again Joseph Gora Kerry Shephard 23 Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia Reviews by Ian R Dobson 90 Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education Benedict Sheehy Sheehy explores the uses of the market in the supply and distribution of higher education and weighs it against the stated policy objectives, with particular attention to the application proposed in the Bradley Review. Down and out in London and Paris (and Helsinki and Berlin ...and Oslo) Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe. A joint international project co-ordinated by the Higher Education Information System (HIS), Germany, by Dominic Orr (ed.) Student Finance in a Welfare State: Effects of reducing economic barriers to higher education in Norway by Vibeke Opheim. Just a bunch of rankers Mapping the higher education landscape: Towards a European classification of higher education by Frans van Vucht (ed.). Review by Leo Goedegebuure 92 The Joshua Trees: Private schools and the poor The beautiful tree: A personal Journey into how the world’s poorest people are educating themselves by James Tooley. Review by Jonathan Sibley A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Letter from the editor Ian R Dobson On behalf of the Australian Universities’ Review (AUR) editorial board and publication team, I would like to welcome you to AUR in 2010. I hope you enjoy this issue, and should you have any suggestions for improvement, please contact me. Please consider AUR as a place to publish your work. Our first issue for the year presents a considerable breadth of material.This issue opens with a more-thantopical paper by Bob Birrell and Fred Smith on the export value of overseas students in Australia. It has become ‘conventional wisdom’ that the ‘export’ attributable to overseas students was in the order of A$16 billion. In fact, this figure shows only one side of the accounts. When costs and on-shore earnings are considered, the actual value of the export is about half the quoted figure.This figure is consistent with the export value of overseas education in the USA. Kerry Shephard’s paper on education and sustainability provides a commentary on the role of higher education in promoting environmental sustainability to students. He concludes that higher education is failing to address the sustainability needs of society adequately. Ross Williams compares university research performance since the Dawkins reforms in the late 1980s. Analysis of two publication databases found that some of the newer universities are moving closer to Group of Eight universities, but that the output differences remain very large. Lorene Gottshalk and Steve McEachern from the University of Ballarat present a study on the casualisation of the Australian university workforce. This form of staff contract has become much more common over the past decade and the authors comment on recent research that shows that the casual teacher is now 2 Letter from the editor, Ian R Dobson more likely to be a person holding several casual jobs and seeking a career. Graeme Orr considers the academic as a media commentator. This paper describes three models through which academics can engage with the media: as generalist or public intellectual; as advocate or activist; and as educator or sub-disciplinary expert. Academic engagement with the media is a valuable form of academic service but ‘should be practised within an ethic of self-restraint’. In AUR vol. 51 no. 1, a ‘call for papers’ sought authors to consider sharing their views on two topics: the Bradley Review and ethics. We are pleased to present papers by Benedict Sheehy (Bradley Review) and Margaret Lindorff (ethics) that came in response. Sheehy’s article explores the uses of the market in the supply and distribution of higher education, compared with the stated policy objectives, particularly in light of the Bradley Review. Lindorff’s paper explains why researchers, including those in the humanities and social sciences, should embrace the ethical issues associated with their research. Human research ethics committees and other institutional ethical review bodies, she says, should be viewed as resources which add value to the research process. Tony Sheil has become a ‘regular’ on the league tables circuit, with his analyses of what it REALLY takes to become a ‘world-class’ university. If you are a small country in population terms, it isn’t easy! In this paper, he considers putting national effort into the creation of a world-class system. As it says on the inside front cover, ‘AUR publishes both articles and other contributions, including short commentary and satire’.This brings us to the paper by Joseph Gora. We invite readers to decide whether this vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W piece is ‘short commentary’, ‘satire’ or both. Whatever your decision, you will enjoy this paper. Readers will also note the ever-expanding Reviews section. It was the editorial board’s wish that more material be reviewed and this is certainly happening. Of course, the number of book reviews is a function of two things: the number of books we are able to get from publishers, and willing (and timely) reviewers. Volunteers, both suppliers of review material, and reviewers would be gratefully accepted. Please contact me if you would be willing to be a book reviewer. Emails should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your specific topics of interest. Reviewers retain the books they review. Although a journal called Australian Universities’ Review has a rather obvious focus, universities (and university sectors) in the twenty-first century cannot be insular. Many of the challenges to the modern university, whether located in Australia or overseas, are common to all. AUR therefore seeks material from around the globe. Our newly-internationalised editorial board will assist in our broader mission. Of course, AUR has a larger ‘reach’ than most Australian journals; at present it circulates about 8,000 in hard copy, and is freely available online through its website (www.aur.org.au). Please keep the papers rolling in! vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Letter from the editor, Ian R Dobson 3 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much? Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University Education is regularly publicised as Australia’s third-largest export behind coal and iron ore. Although it cannot be disputed that education is a major export, the published figures are inflated because of three broad factors. First, estimates of student expenditure on goods and services in Australia are based on students with different demographic characteristics than the current stock of overseas students. Second, the value of on-shore earnings by overseas students is included in the total. Third, direct costs, such as off-shore agents’ fees have not been deducted from the stated earnings. It is likely that the actual export value of education is about half the stated figure, which would bring Australia’s education export earnings into line with those in the USA. Introduction By 2008 the Australian overseas student industry contributed $15.0 billion in export income to the Australian economy from spending on fees and goods and services by overseas students in Australia. This, at least, is the claim of Australian Education International (AEI), which is responsible for overseeing and promoting the overseas student industry in Australia (AEI, 2009a). AEI is part of the Commonwealth government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). According to AEI, education services ‘remains Australia’s third largest export, behind coal and iron ore ($46 billion and $30.2 billion respectively) and the largest services export industry ahead of personal travel services ($11.7 billion)’ (AEI, 2009b). This assertion has been endorsed by other education authorities. Universities Australia, the peak body representing Australian universities, states that ‘education exports’ 4 is the clear number one service export ahead of tourism (Universities Australia, 2009).The $15 billion figure now routinely prefixes newspaper accounts of the overseas student industry. These estimates are not generated by the education industry itself. They derive from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS prepares regular estimates of trade in services, which includes tourism and educational services, as part of its overall estimates of the contribution of international trade to Australia’s balance of payments. The estimates for the credit items in this trade in relation to education for goods and services (living expenses) and fees over the years 2005–06 to 2007–08 are shown in Table 1.They show credits of $13.7 billion by 2007–08. The comparable figure for 2008, which is the basis for statements in the previous paragraph, was $15.0 billion. The latest comparable ABS estimate, for the year 2008-09, is $16.6 billion (ABS, 2009b). The reason for the continuous increases, as shown below, Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V is that export revenue, as measured by the ABS, moves in tandem with the increasing enrolments of overseas students. In this article, the focus is on the ABS estimates for 2007–08. This is because a wide range of data was needed to assess the ABS estimates, not all of which was available for 2008 at the time of writing. The choice of 2007–08 for analysis is not an issue, as our conclusions about the ABS estimates are not affected by the year chosen for scrutiny. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Why an independent assessment is needed The ABS estimates have been accepted without query by the educational industry and by national and state governments. There has been no scholarly assessment of their validity.Yet there are good grounds for such an assessment. One concerns the plausibility of the ABS estimates. The A$13.7 billion figure for 2007–08 represents an average expenditure per overseas student in Australia Table 1: International trade in services, credits and education-related travel, by educational sector by type of expenditure, 2005/06 to 2007/08, number of students and per capita expenditure 2007/08 2005/06 $000 2006/07 $000 2007/08 $000 Number of Students 2007/08 Average expenditure per student 2007-08 Goods and services Higher education 3,927 4,428 5,195 161,186 32,223 Vocational 714 995 1,681 60,139 27,952 Schools 395 444 556 24,747 22,467 ELICOS 312 374 418 15,462 27,034 New Zealand 57 68 86 2,896 29,696 Non-Award 227 233 272 9,160 29,694 Total 5,633 6,541 8,207 273,591 29,997 Fees Higher education 2,596 2,759 3,110 161,186 19,294 Vocational 551 736 1,170 60,139 19,455 Schools 284 302 360 24,747 14,547 ELICOS 275 337 392 15,462 25,352 New Zealand 26 27 31 2,896 10,704 Non-Award 248 266 315 9,160 34,389 Total 3981 4428 5378 273,591 19657 6,524 7,187 8,304 161,186 51,518 Total expenditure Higher education Vocational 1,265 1,731 2,851 60,139 47,407 Schools 679 746 916 24,747 37,015 ELICOS 587 712 810 15,462 52,386 New Zealand 83 95 116 2,896 40,055 Non-Award 476 499 587 9,160 64,083 Total 9,615 10,970 13,585 273,591 49,654 AusAid/Defence 130 140 155 Total 9,745 11,110 13,740 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 5368.0.55.004, International trade in services, Table 12.1 International Trade in Services , Credits, Education Related Travel, by Educational Sector, by Type of Expenditure ; Number of students, ABS, 2009, unpublished. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith 5 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V of $29,997 for goods and services and A$19,657 on fees or a total of A$49,654. These figures are derived by dividing the goods and services and fee estimates in Table 1 by the ABS estimate for the number of overseas students in Australia for the equivalent of a full year in 2007–08. The figure of A$49,654 is very high. It is way beyond the financial capacity of most domestic students let alone recently-arrived overseas students, many of whom come from relatively low-income societies. A second ground is that comparable analyses of the contribution of overseas students to export earnings are not consistent with the ABS estimates. In the case of the United States, NAFSA: the Association of International Educators in the USA, concludes that in 2007– 08 overseas students studying in the US, on average, spent US$18,260 on living expenses and US$16,189 on fees, or a total of US$35,315 per student (or about A$38,800) (NAFSA, 2008).This figure is well below the ABS estimate of A$49,564 per student in Australia. A third ground for scepticism about the A$13.7 billion figure is that it has not been adjusted for overseas student earnings while in Australia. By contrast, NAFSA estimates that the total foreign funds transferred to the US that are attributable directly to the overseas student presence must exclude earnings in the US. NAFSA excludes ‘any US funding or employment the international students may be receiving in an effort to best represent these export dollars flowing into the US economy’ (Baumgartner, 2009). These earnings were estimated to be US$10,415 in 2007–08 and thus the total contribution to export earnings of each overseas student on average was US$24,900 (NAFSA, 2008). The same logic should apply in Australia. Overseas student earnings while in Australia make a significant contribution to the expenditure on goods and services and fees of overseas students detailed in Table 1.These earnings cannot be counted as exports since they are earned in Australia. As explained below, the ABS does include a debit for these earnings elsewhere in the Balance of Payments figures, but this adjustment is not acknowledged by organisations like AEI or Universities Australia when they quote ABS figures on the export of educational services. One of the reasons that the ABS estimates have not been subjected to critical analysis is that it is not easy to do so. Most of the data the ABS relies on are unpublished and the accounting conventions the ABS follows when reporting the debit side of the accounts are little understood. Nonetheless, our experience was that, on request, the ABS provided the required unpub- 6 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W lished data, as did AEI, where that organisation held the required data. The ABS also advised on the international accounting conventions it follows when reporting its findings. The student base in Australia The starting point for any estimate of overseas student expenditure in Australia is the overseas student population. Public discussion of student numbers in Australia is based on AEI enrolment figures. AEI compiles enrolment data for all education sectors which provide their services to overseas students. AEI estimates that the numbers of overseas students studying in Australia on a student visa were 370,238 in 2007 and 435,263 in 2008 (AEI, 2009a). The ABS does not use the AEI’s figures. Instead, it relies on unpublished monthly Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) stock counts of the actual number of persons in Australia holding student visas in the higher education, VET, ELICOS, school and other education sectors. These counts are adjusted monthly to incorporate arrivals and departures on such visas as well as those visaed in Australia or who change their status from that of a student to some other visa category. For 2007–08, the average number of students present in Australia was 273,591. These are unpublished figures provided to the authors by the ABS.Table 1 indicates the numbers for each educational sector over the 12 months of 2007–08.These figures are well below the AEI estimates for enrolments cited above. The reason is that the stock counts take adjust for students who spent only part of the year in Australia or were absent for brief periods, perhaps for holidays at home.This measure of student numbers is appropriate for assessing the annual value of goods and services and fee expenditure on the part of overseas students in Australia. Estimates of student expenditure on goods and services in Australia As noted earlier, the average expenditure of each overseas student in 2007–08 according to the ABS estimates was $29,997 on goods and services and $19,657 for fees.The estimates for each of the individual education sectors are provided in Table 1. The highest expenditure is estimated to have occurred amongst students holding higher education visas (A$51,518 in all). However, the ABS estimates that even those enrolled in the Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S â€™ R E V I E W the share of enrolments from the more affluent source VET sector spent A$47,407 for goods and services and countries of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and fees in 2007â€“08. a surge in enrolments from poorer countries, notably The ABS relies on a 2004 survey commissioned by China and India.As Table 2 shows, there were almost as AEI for its estimates of expenditure on goods and many Indian higher education students in Australia by services on the part of overseas students studying in 2008 as there were from Hong Kong, Malaysia and SinAustralia since 2004.This survey has not been updated gapore put together. Many of this new wave of Indian since 2004, apparently because of the high costs of and Chinese students were enrolled in universities replicating it. Thus, the accuracy of the ABS estimates providing courses customised to appeal to students depends on whether the 2004 results are applicable to wanting the cheapest access to credentials (usually in recently arrived overseas students. accounting or information technology) which would The University of Queensland Social Research Centre lead to a successful permanent residence application prepared the 2004 survey. The Centre attempted a (Birrell & Perry, 2009). national sample of all overseas students in Australia at Another major change since the early years of this the time. The majority of the students who responded decade is a rise in the number of students enrolled in were higher education students (62 per cent) with the VET courses, particularly students coming from India. next largest group being VET students who constituted Table 2 shows that in 2004 most Indian students were 18 per cent (Western et al. 2005). The largest country enrolled in the higher education sector. They came of origin group was students from mainland China, folfrom middle class, big city lowed by Malaysia, Singabackgrounds and were usupore and Hong Kong. The In the case of the higher education sector, ally educated in schools Indian proportion was just there has been a significant decline in the which taught in English 5 per cent. Almost all of the share of enrolments from the more affluent (Baas, 2009 p. 30). By 2008 Indian students surveyed source countries of Hong Kong, Malaysia most Indian students were were enrolled in the higher and Singapore and a surge in enrolments enrolled in the VET sector education sector. and they were being drawn Massive changes to the from poorer countries, notably China and from regional and rural countries of origin, motiIndia. backgrounds, particularly vation for studying in Ausfrom the Punjab. For this tralia and fields of study reason they often needed to take an ELICOS course have occurred since the arrival of the students surbefore beginning their VET courses.This is despite the veyed in 2004. Prior to 2004, most overseas students relatively low minimum English requirement for these were attracted to full-fee university courses in the VET courses. These students do not come from affluexpectation that they could earn good money once ent backgrounds. they returned home, particularly if they came from The figures in Table 2 come from AEI enrolment Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore. Most appear to statistics. They have to be interpreted carefully, since have come from relatively affluent families. Only 32 the enrolment figures for the VET sector exaggerper cent of the 3,186 students surveyed indicated that ate the total student numbers enrolled in the sector. they were employed in Australia (Western et al. 2005, VET students typically enrol in a new course each p.15). Of those that were employed, most (72 per year whereas university students usually stay in the cent) reported incomes of less than A$200 per week. same course from commencement to graduation. As Yet, the Survey found that students spent, on average, a result, the VET figures have to be halved in order to some A$539 per week or A$28,028 per year on living approximate them with the higher education enrolexpenses (Western et al. 2005, p.19). This was on top ment figures. of course fees, for which the 2004 survey did not colTable 2 is provided to illustrate the changes that lect any information. have taken place in the make-up of the overseas popuThe ABS has used the 2004 expenditure record lation and the numbers are not used in the calculation (adjusted for inflation) as the basis for its estimates of overseas student expenditure. of expenditure since 2004. Yet, as noted, the student These changes in the make-up of the overseas stucohorts are quite different. In the case of the higher dent population mean that the 2004 survey data are education sector, there has been a significant decline in vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith 7 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Table 2: Overseas student enrolments by selected sector by top 10 nationalities, December 2002 to 2008 Nationality 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 46,297 48,944 52,663 Higher Education China 16,073 22,389 30,523 40,299 India 8,834 12,232 17,716 22,070 24,939 26,157 27,482 Malaysia 13,514 15,384 15,841 15,286 14,797 15,069 15,633 Singapore 10,399 10,162 9,195 8,302 7,816 7,439 7,473 Indonesia 11,362 11,314 10,498 9,506 8,605 7,826 7,430 Hong Kong 8,280 10,006 10,657 10,159 8,775 7,687 7,265 Korea, Republic of (South) 3,661 4,436 4,926 5,256 5,442 5,799 6,301 Thailand 4,879 5,599 5,648 5,181 4,833 4,668 4,233 Viet Nam 1,729 2,005 2,158 2,356 2,565 2,933 3,880 Other 36,610 41,240 43,530 44,253 45,529 47,813 49,599 Higher Education Total 115,341 134,767 150,692 162,668 169,598 174,335 181,959 10,307 26,952 52,236 VET India 2,223 1,441 1,616 3,840 China 5,786 8,194 10,614 12,863 14,827 18,977 25,823 Nepal 498 378 317 518 1,237 5,369 12,797 Korea, Republic of (South) 4,650 3,803 3,601 4,523 6,031 7,604 9,358 Thailand 3,694 4,412 4,347 4,857 5,622 6,900 8,621 Brazil 1,228 1,302 1,591 2,327 3,496 4,380 5,354 Indonesia 5,160 4,718 4,032 3,603 3,561 4,152 5,247 Bangladesh 1,046 1,394 1,970 2,288 2,973 4,009 4,236 Hong Kong 5,659 5,884 5,137 4,407 4,257 4,303 4,229 Japan 3,925 4,641 4,809 4,892 4,705 4,273 3,787 Other 19,804 20,749 20,188 21,447 25,502 32,843 42,950 VET Total 53,673 56,916 58,222 65,565 82,518 119,762 174,638 Grand Total 169,014 191,683 208,914 228,233 252,116 294,097 356,597 Source: AEI, enrolments data, 2002 to 2008 no longer a reliable indicator of expenditure on goods and services in 2007–08. Not only has the country of origin of students changed sharply since 2004 but so too has the social base of the students coming from some major countries. Students from China and India may have had less family financial support than their counterparts from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore even in 2004. It is not possible to know, because the 2004 survey report does not provide expenditure estimates for students by country of origin. This means that even if expenditure patterns in 2004 by country of birth were a reliable indicator of expenditure in 2007–08, the survey does not provide the data which would enable an adjustment for the changed national composition of the student population since 2004.The 8 ABS has had to generalise the average expenditure of all students surveyed in 2004 (with upward adjustments for the cost of living) to all students enrolled in 2007–08. The use of this methodology helps explain why the estimates for expenditures on goods and services for overseas students in 2007–08 shown in Table 1 seem so high. University students or their families from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia may be able to afford expenditures of around A$30,000 per student per year on living expenses while in Australia (as well as course fees – explored below), but few of the students or their families from the poorer backgrounds just described could afford such sums. In India and China, established professionals earn around A$5,000 a Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V year.These families, let alone families from regional and rural backgrounds, would struggle to raise anything like the average annual expenses estimated by the ABS. Alternative estimates of overseas student expenditure on goods and services Because there have been no further surveys of overseas student expenditure in Australia since the 2004 University of Queensland study, we have had to rely on contextual information in order to offer an alternative estimate. On the assumption that most overseas students would struggle to find the finances necessary to meet the costs of living in Australia, the best way of estimating what they actually spend is to use expert assessments of the minimum required to live in Australia. As a recent study of the information provided by Australian universities indicated, the majority of Australian universities provide information to prospective students about the minimum costs they face in Australia (Rodan, 2009). Here is a selection of these estimates taken from current university websites. The University of South Australia states that the yearly costs of living in Adelaide are between A$14,300 and A$22,880 a year. Much of the variation in this estimate, as with those to follow, is attributable to choices about type of rental accommodation. Deakin University in Melbourne, whose main campus is in the middle suburb of Burwood, estimates that a single international student would need approximately A$13,000–A$16,000 per year to live in Melbourne. Melbourne University states a higher figure. It says that assuming a shared rental (with two others) and a location within six kilometres of the Parkville campus, the annual cost of living would be between A$19,500 and A$25,800. In Sydney, Macquarie University tells overseas students that an international single student living in Sydney will require approximately A$14,000–A$18,000 a year. The University of Technology, Sydney, which is located near the Sydney CBD says that the figure is around A$16,000 to A$21,000 a year. Overseas students can live cheaper than these figures imply if they accept shared accommodation in houses rented exclusively to students. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that many do take up this option. Baas (2009, p. 55) provides some vivid evidence for the Indian students he studied in Melbourne, many of whom lived in rented houses in relatively cheap suburban areas such as Dandenong and parts of Footscray. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Another way to get at student living costs is to ask how much Australian students spend on living expenses. There is some relatively recent data on this amount, which derives from the 2006 Universities Australia study entitled Australian University Student Finances 2006. This survey reports that the median annual expenditure for full-time domestic undergraduate students in 2006 was A$11,320 (James et al., 2007, p. 5). Overseas students will generally need much more than A$11,320, primarily because they do not have access to subsidised family assistance for board and lodging. Assuming rent of A$150 per week or A$8,000 per year on top of the A$11,320 annual expenditure this would amount to some A$20,000 per year by 2007–08. This latter figure is similar to those calculated by the various Australian universities cited above. Though an amount of A$20,000 does seem high in the light of incomes in the major countries of origin, it provides a plausible alternative expenditure figure to that used by the ABS. Debits for income earned in Australia As indicated, the commonly cited figures for the exports of educational services do not adjust for the earnings of students while in Australia. These are reported as a debit item in the ABS Balance of Payments estimates. The ABS follows international practice in its accounting for trade in exports of services. The International Monetary Fund sets the standards for this practice.The international practice is to treat the expenditures of non-resident overseas students while studying in Australia (including fees and living expenses) as exports, in the same manner as the expenditures of tourists. However, the ABS makes an adjustment for the income earned in Australia by students, tourists, or other non-residents elsewhere to the balance of payments accounts. This comes in the form of a ‘compensation for employees’ item, which is recorded as a debit in the balance of payments accounts. For the year 2007–08, this amount was estimated at A$2.3 billion (ABS, 2009a). The ABS has advised the authors that between 50 and 60 per cent of the A$2.3 billion of the ‘compensation to employees’ in 2007–08 was attributable to the earnings of overseas students. This means that the ABS estimate of overseas student earnings while in Australia in 2007–08 was about A$1.2 billion. Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith 9 A U S T R A L I A N U N I Since this $1.2 billion was used by students to defray expenses while studying in Australia it should be deducted from the total A$13.7 billion figure quoted by educational industry representatives, in order to give a more accurate estimate of the value of exports of educational services for 2007–08. A review of ABS estimates of overseas student earnings in Australia This leads to the further question of how the ABS estimates student earnings in Australia. As with expenditure on living expenses, the source is the 2004 student survey. As noted, this reported that only 32 per cent of those surveyed received any income from employment (Western et al., 2005, p. 15) and that of those who did work the majority earned less that A$200 per week. This explains why the ABS estimate for the average level of overseas student earnings in 2007–08 was so low. It amounted to just A$4,386 (A$1.2 billion divided by 273,591 overseas students). Given the change in the make up of the overseas student population described above, it is doubtful that the employment patterns of students here in 2004 apply to more recent arrivals. The latter are far more likely to seek paid work. Analysis of this issue is hampered by a paucity of research on the topic. As a recent review of the question noted, ‘there is a serious deficiency of literature that can cast light on the state of international student finances’ (Forbes-Mewett, ND). The few studies available, which are exclusively for university students, date to the early part of this decade.They are generally consistent with the low earnings estimates reported by the ABS (Nyland et al., 2009). But things are changing as Nyland et al. report in their recent study of some 200 university students (which was weighted to the PhD and Masters end of the study spectrum). Some 70 per cent of their interviewees worked at some time during their stay in Australia. A substantial minority, particularly of those coming from China and India were under severe financial pressure, thus necessitating many hours of paid work (Nyland et al., 2009). Overseas students are permitted to work for 20 hours per week (and full-time during holidays). A student earning at the low rate of A$10 an hour for 20 hours work a week (cash in hand) for fifty weeks would earn around A$10,000 a year. Many would work longer hours because they need more than A$10,000 10 V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W a year in order to pay back loans taken out to finance their fees and to pay for their living expenses in Australia. As noted, minimum living expenses are around A$20,000 per year. It is difficult for educational institutions to enforce the 20 hours per week restrictions. Employers and VET colleges have little incentive to report excess work hours. For their part, the universities have only limited obligations to track the work record and class attendance of their overseas student enrolees. One indication of overseas student earnings may be those of domestic full-time undergraduates. The median income of these students in 2006 was estimated to be A$11,000. Of this, A$8,270 came from earnings in the labour market (James et al., 2007, p. 5). Overseas students face more pressing financial issues than domestic students because they cannot rely on their families for day-to-day food and lodging. Apart from the minority from affluent backgrounds, most have to obtain income from employment in Australia. These students now have an obvious presence across metropolitan service industries in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The anecdotal evidence is that VET students, in particular, start work almost from the day they arrive in Australia. For these reasons, we have assumed that overseas students earned at least as much as their domestic full-time undergraduates, that is, around A$9,000 by 2007–08.This means that the debit item in the Balance of Payments for ‘compensation of employees’ is likely to be at least double the $1.2 billion level assumed by the ABS for the year 2007–08. Estimates of fee income from overseas students The fee income component of the export of educational services included in Table 1 amounted to A$5.4 billion or A$19,657 per student.This ABS estimate does not derive from the 2004 survey, but rather from data provided by AEI to the ABS. AEI bases its fee estimates on the fee levels stated on the CRICOS register for the course each student is enrolled in. These fee levels are multiplied by the total number of students enrolled in each course, adjusted to take account of the length of time of their enrolment. This AEI estimate should provide a reasonable indication of fee income, with one qualification. Course providers usually use the services of education agents in countries of origin to recruit students to their Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W 2007–08 would have been the total spent on living courses.This fee is paid to agents in the home country. expenses, that is A$5.47 billion, plus the A$4.84 billion Therefore, it cannot be regarded as contributing to the estimated to have been spent on fees, or A$10.3 billion. export of educational services in Australia. This compares with the ABS estimate of A$13.7 billion. Agents’ fees are not published. However, informants The third adjustment concerns the ‘compensation indicate that VET providers pay 25-30 per cent of the for employees’ item, that is, the amount overseas stufull course fee (however many years that the course dents earn while in Australia. We have estimated this runs) to overseas agents and that most VET students to be at least A$9,000 per student or A$2.5 billion. As from Asia need an agent to manage the paper work explained above, this figure is a debit in the Balance of for immigration purposes. Agent fees for university Payments. It has to be subtracted from the estimates courses are between 10-15 per cent of the first year of of expenditures on goods the course in question and and services and on fees by nothing thereafter. Some 50 On this analysis the export revenue from overseas students to give per cent of students apply the export of educational services in 2007– a net figure for the export via agents, though the pro08 was A$7.91 billion. This is just over contribution of educational portion can vary with the half (58 per cent) the figure claimed by the services deriving from academic standing of the overseas education industry for 2007–08 overseas students. university. Thus, the A$10.3 billion The implication is the of A$13.7 billion. adjusted figure must be A$5.4 billion figure should further reduced by our estibe reduced to take account mate for student earnings in Australia or the ‘compenof this leakage from the fee income estimated by AEI. If sation for employees’ item as it is termed by the ABS. the agent fee averages around 10 per cent per enrolled We have estimated this figure to be A$2.4 billion. student this implies that the export contribution of the On this analysis the export revenue from the export average fee income of A$19,657 should be reduced by of educational services in 2007–08 was A$7.91 billion. 10 per cent or A$1966 per student. With enrolments This is just over half (58 per cent) the figure claimed of 273,591 in 2007–08, a 10 per cent reduction in fee by the overseas education industry for 2007–08 of income implies a reduction of A$538 million on the A$13.7 billion. ABS estimate. On this accounting, fee income, attributable to export revenue in 2007–08, would have been about A$4.86 billion rather than the A$5.4 billion calConclusion culated by the ABS. Our estimates will be challenged, since they are not based on scientifically formulated survey research. Export revenue attributable to the There is no recent survey research on overseas stuoverseas student industry – the bottom line dent expenditure on living expenses or income earned while in Australia. Since the 2004 survey on which the Three sets of adjustments to the ABS estimates of the ABS bases its estimates is now dated and is not reprecontribution of educational services in Australia to Aussentative of the overseas students now enrolled in Australia’s export revenue need to be made in order to tralia, we have had no choice but to utilise alternative incorporate the revisions argued for above. sources of evidence. These included Australian eduThe first is the adjustment to the average expendicational institutions’ estimates of the minimum living ture of overseas students in Australia. Our estimate was costs students are faced with in Australia. As regards that the average student spends around A$20,000 per earnings in Australia, they included the earnings of year on expenses rather than the A$29,997 estimated local students and anecdotal evidence about the hours by ABS. If so, total expenditure in 2007–08 would have worked and the type of industries overseas students been A$5.47 billion rather than A$8.2 billion. tend to work in. The second adjustment is to fee income. This was The argument that the ‘compensation of employees’ put at A$4.86 billion rather than the A$5.4 estimated item should be deducted from any estimates of overby the ABS. seas student expenditure in Australia has already been These adjustments mean that the export revenue challenged by Glen Withers, the chief executive officer from educational services for overseas students in vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith 11 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V of Universities Australia. In response to an earlier opinion piece in The Australian Higher Education Supplement by one of the authors, Withers acknowledged that the ABS does debit overseas student earnings in the Balance of Payments accounts. However, Withers says that if this is done for educational services it should be done for all other export items as well, since most would have included some imported components or inputs from non-residents in the production phases (Withers, 2009). Withers has a point, but it is a matter of degree. A bag of wheat sold overseas embodies next to no import components or payments to nonresident foreigners.The overseas student industry is at the other end of the spectrum. Most overseas students in Australia gain substantial income while incurring the expenditures counted on the credit side of the ledger as exports. Our original interest in this issue was stimulated by the discovery that the figures for overseas student export revenue used by the overseas student industry and by federal and state governments did not adjust for income earned in Australia. Yet, it was obvious that overseas students are very active in the Australian labour market and that many rely heavily on this income to pay for their living expenses and fees. Further inquiry showed that the ABS estimates used by the education industry imply that overseas students were spending, on average, A$49,654 by 2007–08 on their living expenses and fees in Australia. This figure was not plausible, given the trend towards enrolments from relatively low-income countries, notably India and China. Our alternative estimate for living expenses of A$20,000 rather than the ABS estimate of A$29,997 are still high (relative to the expenditure of domestic students), but more plausible. At the current exchange rate (20 January 2009), this sum is almost identical to the average US$18,260 NAFSA estimates that overseas students in the US spent on living expenses in 2007–08. Our inquiry suggests that by 2007–08 the contribution of the expenditure of overseas students to export revenue (after subtracting students earnings in Australia) was $7.91 billion, rather than the $13.7 billion stated by the education industry. There is nothing to be ashamed of in this revised estimate. The overseas student industry is a major and until recently a rapidly growing industry. It also has many positive economic spin-offs, including those flowing from the wages paid to Australian-based staff. This is another story. The focus here is on the export revenue allegedly generated from the provision of 12 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W onshore educational services to overseas students. Our analysis puts the industry in a more realistic comparative setting relative to other export industries. It is not Australia’s third largest export industry. Perhaps it is the sixth largest, after the export of iron ore, coal, gold, petroleum products and tourism services. Bob Birrell is co-director of the Centre for Population Research, Monash University, Victoria, Australia. Fred Smith is an honorary professorial fellow in the Centre for Population Research, Monash University. References ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2009a, Balance of Payments and international investment position, March Quarter, 2009, cat. No. 5302.0 ABS, 2009b, as above, September Quarter, 2009, Table 15 AEI (Australian Education International) 2009a, Research Snapshot, March. AEI (Australian Education International) 2009b, Research Snapshot, June. Baas, M 2009, Imagined Mobility; Migration and Transnationalism among Indian Students in Australia, University of Amsterdam, Phd Dissertation, 2009. Birrell, B & Perry, B 2009, ‘Immigration policy change and the international student industry’, People and Place, vol. 17, no. 2. Baumgartner, J 2009, ‘The economic benefits of international education to the United States’, GlobalHigherEd 13 May 2009. Accessed 28 July 2009 at: <http:// globalhighed.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/economic-benefits-of-internationaleducation-to-the-united-states> Forbes-Mewett, HND., ‘Australian University International Student Finances’, unpublished. James, R, Bexley, E, Devlin, M & Marginson, S 2007, Australian University Student Finances 2006. Final report of a national survey of students in public universities. Accessed on 17 December 2009 at: <http://www.universitiesaustralia. edu.au/documents/publications/policy/survey/AUSF-Final-Report-2006.pdf> NAFSA 2008, The Economic Benefits of International Education to the United States for the 2007–08 Academic Year: A Statistical Analysis, 2008. Accessed on 17 December 2009 at: <http://www.nafsa.org/_/file/_/eis08/usa.pdf> Nyland, C, Forbes-Mewett, H, Marginson, S, Ramia, G, Sawir, E and Smith, S 2009, Journal of Education and Work, vol. 22, no. 1, Feb, pp. 3-4 Rodan, P 2009, ‘Advising international students of risk’, Campus Review, 27 July Universities Australia 2009, Media Release, 6 February, ‘Education stronger as Australia’s third largest export’. Western, MC, Laffan, WS, Haynes, MA, Chesters, JJ, Tighe, M and Arts, DAG 2005, Final Report of the survey of International Students’ Spending in Australia, University of Queensland, July, p. 11 Withers, G 2009, ‘Sector’s $15bn-plus export figures really stack up’, The Australian, Higher Education Section, 12 August. Export earnings from the overseas student industry: how much?, Bob Birrell & T Fred Smith vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’ Kerry Shephard University of Otago, New Zealand This paper describes some of the drivers for ‘education for sustainability’ that exist in universities and also explores some of the rationales that underpin higher education’s reluctance to engage more formally in education for sustainability. It attempts to provide a balanced commentary on the role and capability of higher education in promoting environmental sustainability to students. Because the paper is grounded in higher education learning and teaching discourse it starts by interpreting the term ‘education for sustainability’ for a broad higher education audience and situates concepts of sustainability within domains of higher education learning and teaching. The paper focuses on Australian and New Zealand universities but introduces developments from around the world for comparative purposes. Introduction The idea for this article arose when I was asked to contribute to an online discussion, in the UK, on the status of ‘education for sustainability’ in countries other than the UK (Sustainability in Higher Education Developers Act Network, Shedemail@example.com). I volunteered some thoughts about the situation in New Zealand and attempted to role-play the mindset of a highereducation institutional chief-executive. I considered the pressing problems of research funding, issues of student recruitment and retention, the emphasis on accountability in learning and teaching, and the financial situation of my hypothetical university; and I managed to place calls for ‘education for sustainability’ someway down my ‘to-do list’. Educators, higher or otherwise, will know the power of role-play in stimulating critical thinking and enabling learners to challenge their own assumptions as they develop their values and attitudes. My role-play did not, perhaps unfortunately, totally displace my convol. 52, no. 1, 2010 cerns that higher education is failing to address the sustainability-needs of society but did enable me to see aspects of both sides of the argument on many of the issues. So this brief paper attempts to illustrate some of the drivers for education for sustainability and also explores some of the rationales that underpin higher education’s reluctance to engage more widely in education for sustainability.The article focuses on Australasia but brings to bear research and development from around the world for comparative purposes. On the way, and to interpret the term ‘education for sustainability’ for a broad higher education audience, I attempt to situate concepts of sustainability within domains of higher education learning and teaching. Taxonomies of ‘education for sustainability’ The term ‘education for sustainability’ arose from the broad and extensive discussions on sustainable development in the latter part of the last century (and summarised below).Any attempt to define it must focus on Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard 13 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W ability. We should also consider the wider, communitythe preposition ‘for’. This is not necessarily or exclubased, learning responsibilities of higher education. sively education about sustainability. At least in part it Our cake needs to include slices for adult/continuing is education for the purposes of saving the planet and education and ‘institution as local leader’. other entities that we may be fond of, such as cultures Cutting the cake in this way may help us to analyse and economies. There is little doubt that if higher eduthe broad range of activities that influence learning, cation were to analyse all of the possible purposes to but is less effective at enabling us to understand the which its educational activities were to be ‘for’, some consequences of this learning; and education for suswould have less worthy causes; but this does introduce tainability is fundamentally about consequences. Put the need to catalogue the higher education learning bluntly, graduates may know much about sustainability and teaching enterprise. Cutting the higher education and possess many of the skills needed to function suslearning and teaching cake will never be a value-free tainably, but unless they choose to put this knowledge enterprise but I attempt it here in three different ways. and these skills to sustainable ends, their education (for One approach to categorise learning for, or about, sustainability) will have in some senses failed. Bloom sustainability is to divide it into activity elements of and colleagues (Bloom, & Krathwol,1956; Bloom, Hastformal, informal and non-formal. So, it is possible to ings & Madaus, 1971) categorised learning as cogniidentify a range of higher education formal-learning tive, psychomotor and affective, and it is within this activities that are predominantly about sustainability. latter category that values, Students study environattitudes and behaviours mental sciences to learn Links between society’s quest for reside. about the environment, for sustainability and education have been Increasingly attention example. Then there is a with us for some time. The Brundtland is being paid to students’ range of less precise activiReport suggested that ‘the world’s affective characteristics ties. We must recognise teachers . . . have a crucial role to play’ in as they relate to sustainthe longstanding quest for ability (Shephard, 2008) ‘greening the curriculum’ helping to bring about the ‘the extensive involving, for example, an that could reasonably apply social changes’ needed for sustainable individual’s disposition to to the formal curricula of development. put the knowledge that all university students (See, they have about sustainfor example, UK discussions ability to sustainable ends on the Toyne Review, Britand how these change as students pass through the ish Government Panel on Sustainable Development education system. Equivalent development is occurThird Report, 1997). ring in other fields that relate to affective attributes Educators are aware that not all student-learning such as social justice and citizenship (see for example is described within their curriculum. Non-formal and Maas Weigert, 2006).The term ‘action competence’ has informal learning within higher education contexts been developed to describe some higher-order affecoccurs with (non-formal) or without (in-formal) prior tive attributes (Jensen & Schnack, 2006). Cutting the planning. Much has been made of ‘teacher as rolecake in relation to consequences allows us to identify model’ in school settings, but less so in higher educathat some forms of higher education explicitly express tion, where the focus has been primarily on the roles concern for the affective consequences of their teachof teachers as potential advocates for the environing activities and others do not. ment (Jickling, 2003). More recently much concern A third cake-cutting exercise is necessary if we are to addresses the notion of ‘institution as role model’, with get to grips with the intentions that higher education consequential emphasis on campus sustainability (see practitioners have for their teaching, and by extension, in particular ACTS, Australasian Campuses towards for their students’ learning. Higher education generally, Sustainability, http://acts.asn.au/about). Many instiand nowadays, attempts to describe the knowledge and tutions are involved in sustainability research and abilities it intends its graduates to have acquired prior where teaching is research-informed it seems likely to graduation, and of an assessable nature, primarily in that this will directly or indirectly impact on student the form of ‘intended learning outcomes’.This modern learning. Even research into learning and teaching may approach to education is sometimes referred to as ‘outhave an effect on students’ understanding of sustain- 14 Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V come oriented education’. But many of the outcomes that higher education seeks have consistently proved difficult to assess by examination, assignment or other traditional approaches and many of these, some clearly affective in nature, are alternatively described as graduate attributes (reviewed and described by Barrie, 2004). Often these ‘other’ outcomes are not openly assessed and they remain indicative or aspirational on behalf of institutions (Carter, 1985; Shephard, 2008). Not all teachers are comfortable with precise descriptions of intended learning outcomes (see for example Hussey and Smith, 2003) and there is ongoing opposition to their universal imposition. This alternative slice of the cake accepts that some forms of learning are difficult to describe and that some higher education teachers focus on creating learning environments that provide the best possible conditions for learning. In further exploring concepts of education for sustainability all three categorisations of activities, consequences and intentions will be useful. Higher education’s engagement with sustainability up to and including the 90s Links between society’s quest for sustainability and education have been with us for some time. The Brundtland Report suggested that ‘the world’s teachers . . . have a crucial role to play’ in helping to bring about ‘the extensive social changes’ needed for sustainable development (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. xiv). Berberet, in a widely cited report, went further to suggest that education has played a key role in perpetuating unsustainable environmental practices: ‘Not only has education uncritically accepted the association of progress and the unfettered growth economy, it has trained the engineers and managers, performed the research, and developed the technologies which in aggregate have had such a devastating impact on the environment.’ Berberet (1989, pp. 4-5). Agenda 21 identified that: ‘Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues . . . It is critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision- making.’ (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 1992, ch. 36, p. 2) vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Many universities responded to these challenges. Two elements of the Talloires Declaration (Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, 1994) relate most directly to the teaching activities that occur within institutions. These are to ‘Educate for Environmentally Responsible Citizenship’ (establish programs to produce expertise in environmental management, sustainable economic development, population, and related fields to ensure that all university graduates are environmentally literate and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens) and to ‘Foster Environmental Literacy For All’ (create programs to develop the capability of university faculty to teach environmental literacy to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students). Our cake-cutting exercise above should be useful in interpreting these elements. In some respects they are modest expectations. Signatories agree to either ‘greening the curriculum’ or providing specialist courses for all students to ensure that they become environmentally literate but say nothing about students’ affective attributes (environmental literacy, awareness and understanding are generally regarded as cognitive, rather than affective, characteristics). They also agree to ensure that programmes will be developed to enable faculty to become capable teachers of environmental literacy, but not that faculty will so engage or choose to teach environmental literacy if they do. No New Zealand universities have signed up but many Australian universities have (Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, 2009). Higher education’s engagement with sustainability in the current decade The scientific community has for many years understood that mankind’s release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases may be contributing to global warming, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) took until 2007 to identify that: warming of the climate system is unequivocal; that the probability that this is caused by natural climatic processes alone is less than 5 per cent and; that most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations (IPCC 2007). There were of course earlier warnings.And it is still possible for those who are inclined to optimism to interpret these warnings as unduly pessimistic. Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard 15 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V There are many studies, particularly within the environmental education literature, that address the ‘education for sustainability’ status of higher education, how it might be responding to these increasingly bleak messages but also illustrating innovative and successful educational programmes. See for example recent special issues of Environmental Education Research that focus on higher education. These and similar studies paint a picture of great variability. At an institutional level some institutions are highly proactive, others less so. One recent research report emphasises the considerable variation in how even the most proactive higher education institutions around the world, in the USA and in Germany, go about addressing sustainability (Beringer, 2007). It would be difficult, therefore, to succinctly summarise the situation in all of higher education, but this has recently been attempted for one country (the UK): ‘... if we examine the extent to which HEIs [higher education institutions] have actually reoriented themselves such that environmental and sustainability issues now pervade the vision, ethos, thinking and work of the institution, then the conclusion probably has to be that very little has happened in most cases.’ (Sterling and Scott, 2008). If we look more particularly at university lecturers’ understanding of sustainability and of their role in relation to sustainability, perhaps with a view to explaining this situation, recent research from Australia is notable. Reid and Petocz (2006) used a phenomenographic methodology to identify that while many higher education teachers are aware that sustainability has some role to play in their teaching, some of them view that role in quite limiting ways. These authors suggest that changes in thinking about sustainability will require ‘creative pedagogy’ that provides ‘spaces’ within which individual teachers may develop their ideas; but it would be difficult to read this research with an optimistic mindset. It seems that many higher education institutions and many lecturers in higher education have not yet committed themselves to the concept of higher education for sustainability. What are the arguments for and against such commitment? Eight reasons why higher education may be reluctant to engage more widely in education for sustainability; but perhaps should What follows are brief descriptions of eight broad issues relevant to education for sustainability in Aus- 16 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W tralian and New Zealand universities. They are styled, as well as I am able to, as arguments against and for greater engagement with education for sustainability. To avoid doubt in the minds of readers, generally the ‘for’ argument starts with a ‘but’. Australasia appears to be such a minor contributor to global problems; surely universities in other parts of the world should take the lead? It might be rational to expect higher education institutions and associated groups in those countries that are making the greatest unsustainable impact to take the led on education for sustainability and there is some evidence that this is occurring. In the USA, leadership comes from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. AASHE is currently developing a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System; STARS (www.aashe.org/stars) and there is little doubt which universities and colleges in the USA have lead progress on campus sustainability in recent years, or that the USA in general is leading the world in this aspect of education for sustainability. In the UK the student group People & Planet (‘the largest, student network in Britain campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment’ http://peopleandplanet.org/gogreen/greenleague2008) is harnessing the power of the league table to rank higher education institutions largely on the basis of their self-reported campus sustainability. An indication of a developing partnership between student groups and higher education funding bodies is apparent in the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) most recent policy statement on sustainable development in higher education: ‘We will work with student organisations, including the National Union of Students (NUS) and NUS Services Ltd, to promote behavioural change among students and support initiatives that seek to harness the student resource for positive environmental initiatives at the campus level.’ (HEFCE, 2009). But higher education in Australasia is not necessarily leaderless on these issues. In New Zealand’s tertiary (broader than higher) education context, Otago Polytechnic is taking a clear leadership role in establishing that: ‘Our goal is that every graduate may think and act as a sustainable practitioner. Moreover, educators must take a lead in sustainability so that our graduates can be encouraged and supported to promote sustainable practices in their chosen career. This Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V can primarily be achieved by fostering education for sustainability in all our qualifications and by revisioning and changing our approach to teaching and learning to model a transformative context for all learners’ (Otago Polytechnic, 2009). Otago Polytechnic’s approach encompasses transformative learning for all students, the development of learning communities as well as campus sustainability. In Australia, special recognition needs to go to AIRES (Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability www.aries.mq.edu.au) for its research to inform policy and practice in education for sustainability across a range of sectors. Many Australian higher education institutions have inspirational initiatives that pilot and promote education for sustainability. ANU’s Sustainability Learning Community is one example that extends far beyond campus sustainability (Australian National University, 2009). Universities can only do what they are funded to do I value my job as a university academic, particularly in that it enables me to study what I am interested in. I also value my salary and have to accept that without it I would be hard pressed to have impact in my professional role. The argument that universities need to be funded to have impact is a strong one. New Zealand and Australia both have comprehensive governmentled strategies for tertiary or higher education and particular emphases for education for sustainability. New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Strategy (20072012) describes many aims relating to environmental sustainability. These include: …. balance progress with environmental sustainability; ….build understanding and connections with each other, with our natural environment, and with the wider world; … and help to preserve our natural environment by promoting understanding and skills in conservation and eco-restoration. (Ministry of Education, 2008, p. 9). Australia’s National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability aims to support ‘whole-of-institution change for sustainability in universities’ and intends that ‘Education for sustainability is integrated into all university courses/subject areas and campuses are managed in a sustainable way’ (Australian Government, 2009, p. 5 and p. 21). With respect to New Zealand, it has been argued, however, that strategic issues identified for the tertiary education sector by government have not been translated into explicit investment funding (Mellalieu, 2009). Mellalieu suggests that monitorvol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W ing processes for tertiary education organisations do not generally refer to changes associated with sustainability education and that the signals that the Tertiary Education Strategy gives to institutional leaders about sustainability are, by and large, very weak. (A similar analysis could potentially be made for Australia, but I have not yet seen such a case made). Without explicit funding, higher education has limited opportunities to have an impact and institutions that attempt to do so are doing it by redirecting funding allocated for other purposes and jeopardising their financial security. But is higher education really waiting for governments to tell it what to do and how to do it? Lack of funding may provide an explanation for lack of higher education involvement in society’s most challenging problems but surely never a justification? ‘Society’ expects its universities to act as its critic and conscience. Society cannot at the same time tell higher education how to act Historically university academics have accepted responsibilities to think critically about, and to comment on, issues that they think are important for their sponsoring societies to consider. These responsibilities are in turn, and again historically, dependent on the protection of academic freedom. In New Zealand, both concepts are laid down in its 1989 Education Act. Useful recent analyses of the developing play-off between academic freedom and academic responsibilities have been provided by Bridgman (2007) for New Zealand and by Sharrock (2004) in a case study analysis of one Australian university. Bridgman creates a case for this critical role to be particularly challenging in ‘anti-intellectual’ New Zealand but identifies an ongoing need to support it. Sharrock, in promoting a case for rethinking the Australian University, argues that ‘After postmodernism, it is harder for a university to profess its ability to inscribe the correct set of values and virtues in the student-as-citizen. It is also harder for it to profess to be a ‘tribunal of truth’ with sufficient authority to act as critic and conscience for its host society, by defining what is good or true or beautiful.’ (Sharrock, 2004 p. 267). Even given the precarious nature of these concepts in the modern university, there is no doubt that academics based in environmentally-focussed disciplines within universities continue to contribute their views to wider debates on environmental issues. What may be in doubt in the minds of some is higher education’s responsibility to internalise the views and values Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard 17 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V of just some of its academic members in deciding what and how to teach, but I am not sure why this should be so. In New Zealand academic freedom includes ‘The freedom of the institution and its staff to regulate the subject-matter of courses taught at the institution’ (Parliamentary Counsel Office, 2009) and in my experience this freedom is anticipated in many developed countries even where not laid down in statutes. Greening the curriculum should be a voluntary activity and it is irrational to expect higher education to respond to government steering on this, or on any other valueladen societal issue. Comments about carts and horses fit here. But there are many arguments to the contrary. Primarily they question the balance between academic freedom and responsibility perceived by academics and their institutions and suggest that societies need their academics to step-up-to-the-mark and put their privileged positions to good effect.They ask academics to put to one side their disciplinary and research focus, their complaints about the ills of performance-based research funding and massification, and to help society address a huge problem by harnessing their power over student learning. These arguments are not necessarily based on academics’ rights or their historical roles. They are not necessarily academically rational, liberal or particularly long-term. They paint a picture of rising waters lapping on the walls of ivory towers, each housing a tribe of academics arguing important matters amongst themselves. How can this be a priority for higher education when neither academic staff nor students think that it is? A recent discussion document on sustainability at my own university, with approximately 20,000 students and 3500 staff, elicited almost 140 responses (University of Otago, 2009a). The discussion document was well written and invited responses on a broad range of sustainability issues. Opportunities to respond were provided over a generous, and extended, timeframe. A large majority of responses were positive towards greater sustainability and some were from groups rather than from individuals, but the University’s senior managers would have been hard-pressed to be overwhelmed. This university does have an active student sustainability group and an effective campus sustainability programme. It has had a range of environmental policy initiatives in place for many years. It has an international reputation for its research, includ- 18 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W ing a wide range of environmentally-focused research. It has a long-standing tradition of providing learning opportunities for all students to study environmental topics at several levels (described at University of Otago, 2009b). Yet given the opportunity to comment on the ways that this institution will address environmental sustainability (including education for sustainability) in the future, relatively few chose to do so. It would be difficult to conclude that staff and students in this higher education institution consider education for sustainability to be a priority, or that the pathway before us is clear. But academic staff and students have a right to expect representative and managerial groups in the University to make difficult decisions on their behalf. As skilled critical thinkers, many staff and students will have opinions on the relevant issues that span the range discussed in this paper. They will be able to see the strengths of both sides of each argument.Also, personal issues such as financial security may primarily dominate their individual views. It may not be rational to expect such people to individually push the University in any particular direction and entirely rational to expect them to conclude that University leaders are there to make these close-call difficult decisions. Perhaps other parts of the post-compulsory education sector should focus on this? Australia and New Zealand’s post-compulsory education sectors are comparatively large, complex and affluent. In both countries there is a tradition, if not an explicitly stated policy, that different parts of the sector perform different roles and operate in different ways. Given this diversity there is no a priori reason why higher education needs to address education for sustainability. Other parts of the sector, for example, those focussing on vocational training, may be better placed to instil sustainability principles into our citizens. Also, higher education institutions look to other national bodies for guidance and support on learning and teaching matters and neither the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, nor New Zealand’s recently established National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence (Ako Aotearoa) currently provide leadership on education for sustainability. But other parts of the post-compulsory education sector are far more government-directed than is higher education so different rules apply and making comparisons is unhelpful. Each part of the sector must make the contribution that is appropriate. Also, lack of Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I engagement with education for sustainability by practitioners whose field of enquiry is higher education is not evidence of lack of need, nor of absence of shared responsibility. Universities need not wait for national learning and teaching entities to prescribe what their appropriate contribution might be. V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W previously been part of their experience; and (2) equip those same students with the analytical skillsof argument, statistical modelling, laboratory procedure-that will enable them to move confidently within those traditions and to engage in independent research after a course is over.’ (Fish, 2008, p. 13). Fish suggests that universities have inappropriately overstated what they are able to do for their students and for their wider communities and that higher education is not equipped to enhance their moral, civic or Calls for universities to change students’ values and attisocial characters with respect to social, political and tudes so that they become sustainable citizens imply cultural issues. Fish is not alone in doubting the role of the need for particular forms of learning. Bloom and higher education in this field. Butin (2008) in reviewKrathwol and others systematically examined domains ing Fish’s book within the context of its application of learning in the last century (Bloom & Krathwol, to service learning, or community engagement, has 1956) and many of the required attributes for susused Fish’s arguments to analyse the range of teaching tainable citizenship fit squarely within the affective approaches inherent within service learning. Butin domain (Shephard, 2008). Bloom, Hastings and Madaus argues that indeed some service learning practices (1971) emphasised the difficulties that educators face are not as appropriate to when ‘teaching’ affective higher education as others outcomes. They concluded A key concern when educating for and suggests that the real that educators avoid being sustainability is whose values are we value of Fish’s analysis is in too open about their affecpromulgating and which environments, encouraging higher educative objectives because cultures and economies do we choose to tion teachers to fully examthey are concerned about sustain? ine what they are doing and charges of indoctrination that Fish is ‘saving the Unior brainwashing. versity on his own time’. In addition, many educators But universities around the world have not heeded regard these matters as ‘private’ rather than public and these messages. Many professions find a home in also express concern that affective outcomes are far higher education and many of these seek professional too long-term to be assessed within the timescale of values in their graduates. Medicine provides the best any particular learning programme. These issues have examples of learning, teaching and assessment in the not yet been resolved by higher education practitionaffective domain (Shephard, 2008) but my favourite is ers and it not unknown for educators to be accused from the University of Sydney; ‘Graduates of the Facof indoctrinating practices (see Carlson, 2006, for an ulty of Veterinary Science will hold personal values example in the area of college sustainability). It is and beliefs consistent with their role as responsible also still relatively rare in education for attainment members of local, national, international and profesof these values and attitudes to be openly assessed sional communities. (e.g. protect the natural environor for programmes that attempt to, or inadvertently, ment, maintain biodiversity and conserve endangered develop values to be evaluated on this basis. The term species).’ (University of Sydney, 2009). Indeed broad ‘hidden curriculum’ has been used to describe these descriptions of graduate attributes provide ample and related anomalies (Margolis, 2001). A key concern evidence of higher education’s willingness to seek when educating for sustainability is whose values are affective outcomes in its graduates; outcomes such as we promulgating and which environments, cultures ‘having an appreciation of…’ or ‘showing a commitand economies do we choose to sustain? Stanley ment to …’ or ‘being willing to …’. I conclude that Fish has travelled the world (he was in New Zealand higher education, in general, is not averse to teaching recently) to extend the message that academics should in the affective domain, only to bringing its skills to save the world on their own time: bear in pursuit of particular affective outcomes. These ‘College and university teachers can (legitimately) issues have been important to environmental educado two things: (1) introduce students to bodies of knowledge and traditions of inquiry that had not tion, and related fields, for many years (see for example Universities cannot, or should not, set out to change students to be better citizens vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard 19 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V the work of Jickling, 2003) but have resulted in great uncertainty about the academic limits and moral scope of education for sustainability. Lemkowitz et al. (1996), for example, describe a long-established higher education course for science and engineering students that stimulates critical and creative thought on sustainability (and assesses its attainment), but does not attempt to teach any particular viewpoint or assess students on their attainment of particular values and attitudes. They argue strongly that it is not their role to change students’ values, but they are happy to encourage students to engage with the issues and think critically about sustainability. Shephard (2008) has extended this argument to conclude that most teachers in higher education are happy to encourage students to acquire affective characteristics at the lower end of the Bloom, Krathwol et al.’s affective domain. Most teachers find it acceptable to encourage their students to be willing to listen, to read, to acquire information, and to discuss environmental issues with others. In these ways they are happy to create opportunities for students to formulate their own views on the issues based on their experience and learning. Assessments at these levels, at most, ask students to argue, challenge, debate, refute, confront, justify or criticise.A recent AIRES publication describes it as promoting ‘values clarification’ (Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability, 2009). University teachers who do entertain the notion that at least part of their role is to prepare students for citizenship do need academic space in which to properly explore the limits of their influence. Even if we were interested in changing students’ attitudes we would not be able to measure these changes The difficulties involved in following changes in the affective sustainability attributes of students may be too great for higher education to address. Bloom, Hastings and Madaus (1971) commented that many educators express concern that affective outcomes are far too long-term to be assessed within the timescale of any particular learning programme. But since the 70s a great deal of academic work has been undertaken to devise means whereby affective attributes may be variously measured, assessed, monitored or evaluated. Shephard (2009) describes a range of processes in higher education that directly or indirectly assess affective objectives.Anderson et al. (2007) and Packer (2009) used self-reporting attitude surveys 20 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W to monitor how students’ worldviews changed during higher education experiences. Shephard, Mann, Smith and Deaker (2009) have established a benchmark of student attitudes for a substantial proportion of a whole institution’s intake, in preparation for monitoring subsequent changes. There is a strong case for the use of whole-cohort evaluation rather than individual student assessment for these purposes (Bloom, Hastings and Madaus,1971; Shephard, 2009). I have little sympathy with the suggestion that changes in line with education for sustainability cannot be followed, quantified or substantiated. Academic staff in universities have essentially the same values as those of wider society and are in no position to lead our students towards sustainable living As described above in relation to the contribution that education has made to unsustainable practices, Berberet (1989) argued that ‘Historically, the values of schools and colleges have mirrored those of the larger society’. As such there is reason to doubt that those who teach in higher education are able to provide leadership for values-based transformation where the values sought are different from their own. How can we expect academic staff who have not themselves embraced sustainable life styles to teach these values to others? But this argument is predicated on a fundamentally outdated notion of the role of a university teacher.The counter argument naturally starts with a denial that education for sustainability does attempt to teach, or change, student values, but this has been discussed above. Extending beyond that, we consider the foundations of the teacher/learner interaction as it applies in particular to higher and adult education. There is a broad and active debate in higher education on the merits of student-centred rather than teacher-centred teaching. The debate addresses the extent to which teachers focus on transmitting information, rather than encouraging active learning. It focuses on the power relationships that develop within teaching and learning frameworks and the central role of assessment.The debate questions the control that teachers have over the curriculum and the learner’s engagement with the curriculum and emphasises the potential of service learning, enquiry-based learning and the learning technologies to liberate students from this control. Fears that teachers can teach values, however appropriate or inappropriate, to their students have less foundation as Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V the power swings from teacher to learner. Higher education is no doubt a long way from achieving the ideals of student-centredness but it is clear to me that challenging the relationship between teacher and learner in higher education is central to the education for sustainability mission. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W References Anderson, MW, Teisl, M, Criner, G, Tisher, S, Smith, S, Hunter, M & Norton, SA 2007, ‘Attitude change of undergraduate students in general education courses’, Journal of General Education 56(2), pp. 149-168. Australian National University 2009, Sustainability Learning Community, accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://slc.anu.edu.au/?pid=135> Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability 2009, What is Education for sustainability? Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.aries. mq.edu.au/publications/aries/efs_brochure/> Summing up Those who read this paper will no doubt favour one side of each argument over the other. Some may have additional issues to address. Situating the analysis within something other than the learning and teaching discourse is particularly likely to introduce different issues. My own analysis suggests that the concept of ‘higher education for sustainability’ is fraught with problems but on balance higher education is failing to adequately address the sustainability needs of society. This same analysis produces, for me, a more fundamental concern that higher education is failing to address its own reasons for being and fitness for purpose. My own approach, and expertise, is to systematically address these concerns and responsibilities one by one; researching answers and opportunities from within my own disciplines. But in so doing I accept that perhaps this is the approach that has enabled higher education to focus its attention on the individual disciplines, roles and problems that define, and constrain, its operations. A different approach may be necessary to achieve education for sustainability in higher education. Kerry Shephard is professor of higher education at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future 1994, The Talloires Declaration 10 Point Action Plan, updated version. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.ulsf.org/pdf/TD.pdf> Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future 2009, Talloires Declaration institutional signatory list. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www. ulsf.org/programs_talloires_signatories.html> Australian Government 2009, Living Sustainably: the Australian Government’s National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <www.environment.gov.au/education/nap> Barrie, SC 2004, ‘A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy’, Higher Education Research and Development 23 (3), pp. 261-275. Berberet 1989 cited by Fien, J 1993, Education for the Environment - critical curriculum theorising and environmental education, p. 8. Deakin University Press, Geelong, Victoria. Beringer, A 2007, ‘The Lüneburg Sustainable University Project in international comparison: an assessment against North American peers’, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8 (4), pp. 446-461. Bloom, BS, Hastings, JT & Madaus, GF 1971, Handbook on formative and summative evaluation of student learning. New York: McGraw-Hill. Bloom, BS & Krathwol DR 1956, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. New York, David McKay. Bridgeman, T 2007, ‘Assassins in academia? New Zealand academics as “critic and conscience of society”’, New Zealand Sociology 22 (1), pp. 126-144. British Government Panel on Sustainable Development Third Report 1997, Accessed 3 September 2009 at <http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/panel-sd/ panel3/10.htm> Butin, DW 2008, ‘Saving the University on His Own Time: Stanley Fish, Service-Learning, and Knowledge Legitimation Academy’, Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning Fall 2008. Accessed 12 August 2009 at <http:// danbutin.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Butin_Review_Fish.155121332. pdf> Carlson, S 2006, ‘The sustainable university’, The Chronicle of Higher Education October 20. Carter, R 1985, ‘A taxonomy of objectives for professional education’, Studies in Higher Education 10 (2), pp. 135 – 149. Fish, S 2008, Save the World on Your Own Time, New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) 2009, Sustainable development in higher education 2008 update to strategic statement and action plan, Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/ hefce/2009/09_03/> Hussey, T & Smith, P 2003, ‘The uses of learning outcomes’, Teaching in Higher Education, 8, 3, pp. 357–368. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) Fourth Assessment Report Accessed 26th November 2009 at <http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1_home. html> vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard 21 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Jensen, BB & Schnack, K 2006, ‘The action competence approach in environmental education’, Environmental Education Research, 12(3/4), pp. 471-486. Reid, A & Petocz, P 2006, ‘University lecturers’ understanding of sustainability’, Higher Education 51, pp. 105-123. Jickling, B 2003, ‘Environmental education and environmental advocacy: revisited’, Journal of Environmental Education, 34(2), pp. 20–27. Sharrock, G 2004, ‘Rethinking the Australian University: a critique of off course’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 26 (2) pp. 265-277. Lemkowitz, M, Bibo, BH, Lameris, GH & Bonnet, JABAF 1996, ‘From Small Scale, Short Term to Large Scale, Long Term: Integrating “Sustainability” into Engineering Education’, European Journal of Engineering Education 21 (4) pp. 353-386 . Shephard, K 2008, ‘Higher education for sustainability: seeking affective learning outcomes’, International Journal for Sustainability in Higher Education 9 (1) pp. 87-98. Maas Weigert, K 2006, ‘Justice, Integrity and Action: Individuals and Institutions’, Improving University Teaching. 31st International Conference. July 2006 Dunedin, New Zealand. Accessed 3 September 2009 at <http://www.iutconference. org/2006/pdfs/MaasWeigert.pdf> Margolis, E (ed.) 2001, The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education, Routledge, New York, NY. Mellalieu, P 2009, Shifting frontiers, new priorities, creating pathways: elevating the case for tertiary education for sustainable development in New Zealand. New Zealand Tertiary Education Summit 2009, Wellington Town Hall, 28-29 April 2009, Wellington, New Zealand. Accessed 26 August 2009 at <http:// web.me.com/petermellalieu/UBSpublications/Publications/Entries/2009/5/7_ MELLALIEU:_Elevating_the_case_for_tertiary_education_for_sustainable_ development_files/Shifting%20frontiers.pdf> Ministry of Education 2008, Policy and Strategy. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/TertiaryEducation/PolicyAndStrategy.aspx> Otago Polytechnic 2009, Our Commitment to Sustainability. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz/about/sustainablepractice.html> Packer, A 2009, ‘Service Learning in a Non-majors Biology Course Promotes Changes in Students’ Attitudes and Values About the Environment’, International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 3 (1). Accessed 27 July 2009 at <http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl> Shephard, K 2009, ‘e is for exploration: assessing hard to measure learning outcomes’, British Journal of Educational Technology 40 (2) pp. 386–398. Shephard, K , Mann, S, Smith, N & Deaker, L 2009, ‘Benchmarking the environmental values and attitudes of students in New Zealand’s post-compulsory education’, Environmental Education Research 15 (5) pp. 581-587. Sterling, S & Scott, W 2008, ‘Higher education and ESD in England: a critical commentary on recent initiatives’, Environmental Education Research, 14 (4) pp. 386-398. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 1992, Agenda 21. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/enviro.html> University of Otago 2009a, Working party on environmental sustainability report.Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.propserv.otago.ac.nz/energy/ report.html> University of Otago 2009b, Environmental studies. Accessed 27 July 2009 at <http://www.otago.ac.nz/subjects/env_studies/papers_interest/> University of Sydney 2009, Veterinary Graduate Attributes. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.vetsci.usyd.edu.au/future_students/undergraduate/ graduate_attributes.shtml> World Commission on Environment and Development 1987, Brundtland Report: Our Common Future. Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://worldinbalance.net/intagreements/1987-brundtland.php> Parliamentary Counsel Office 2009, Education Act 1989, section 161 (Academic Freedom) (c). Accessed 26 November 2009 at <http://www.legislation.govt.nz/ act/public/1989/0080/latest/DLM183665.html> 22 Higher education’s role in ‘education for sustainability’, Kerry Shephard vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Academics and the media in Australia Graeme Orr University of Queensland Law School Little has been written about the relationship between academia and the media. This essay describes three models through which academics can engage with the media: as generalist or public intellectual; as advocate or activist; and as educator or sub-disciplinary expert. It couches these models within both the traditional wariness of academia towards the media and changing landscapes such as the rise of blogging and the ‘corporate’ university. It argues that engagement with the media is a valuable form of academic service, if practised within an ethic of self-restraint. Introduction Surprisingly little has been written about academia’s relationship with the media in Australia. The exception has been a recent interest in defining and naming ‘public intellectuals’. The public intellectual is someone who can move easily between topics, drawing on a variety of philosophical positions or contextual understandings. Public intellectuals are exalted, but rare, birds. Most of the literature focuses on them (Carter 2001, Small 2002a, Wark 2001, Grant, Nile 2006). But they are just the tip of the iceberg. Academics can move between three models of media engagement. One is the public intellectual, a true generalist.Another is the advocate, an activist for (or against) reform. The third is the educator, the sub-disciplinary expert. This essay defines and explores these roles. It draws in part from law, my discipline of 17 years, but is generalised to the broader academy. Historically, academics were wary of the media’s tendency to scandalise and inability to convey the nuance which scholarship prizes. This scepticism is pronounced in disciplines where practitioner or libvol. 52, no. 1, 2010 eral educational values counsel modesty and impartiality. The disciplinary upbringing of most academics as specialists, rather than generalists, means few are groomed to become public intellectuals. Yet many engage in advocacy and education in the media. With media diversification, there are more outlets than ever, including through blogging. There remain good grounds for ambivalence about the media and, indeed, the ‘corporate’ university’s hunger for publicity. The essence of academia is not mere opinionation or reaction to cycles of controversy, but reflective expertise. The intensification of media cycles ensures that concerns about media scandalisation and shallowness remain relevant. In addition, the internet risks fragmenting public discourse as much as it may democratise it. However, there is consonance, as well as dissonance, between academia and the media. Thus, whilst some wariness is justified, engagement with the media, if practised with self-restraint, is a valuable extension of academic endeavour. It should not be mandated in every academic job description. But it is a natural, public calling of academia as a whole. Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr 23 A U S T R A L I A N U N I Media and academia – consonance and dissonance Ostensibly, both the media and academia are in the business of ‘knowledge production and dissemination’ (if you can pardon the jargon). Each generates, filters and publishes information, whether as news or research findings, together with analysis and ideas. Each seeks to influence public debates. However, it would be misleading to over-emphasise the analogy between the two spheres. Whilst intellectual ideas influence public discourse, academics have little direct power to shape debates, whereas through selection and inflection, editors have a significant, even constructional influence over the public agenda (Maley 2000, Severin & Tankard 2001, ch. 11). The role of the media – at least the bulk of it, in its commercial manifestation – is often depicted as delivering an audience to advertisers. The media have a mass audience, whereas the university’s audience remains fairly elite: students and disciplinary colleagues. Contemporary,‘corporate’ university management may configure students as paying customers, but the teacher-pupil relationship remains rooted in scholastic goals of generating understanding and insight and fostering inquiring minds and skills. Academics care to paint their work as special, if not unique.We do this by appealing to the notion of scholarship as a set of methods and protocols designed to reveal truth. From that vantage point, many see academia as far removed from the mission of the media. Even from a practical angle, the enterprises create knowledge under quite different productive environments. Journalists work under tight deadlines and a fair degree of editorial dictate; academics assert academic freedom and ideas require time for gestation and reflection. Journalistic investigation, even of a public-spirited kind, has to be ad hoc, entertaining and angled; academics work in an empirically comprehensive manner and measured language. Nonetheless, once we accept that academia’s role is not merely the creation of scholarship, but the ‘advancement of knowledge’, then university life cannot be limited to a conversation within and amongst the universities. It is also concerned with imparting ideas through teaching and community service. An important aspect of community engagement – one form of service – is disseminating knowledge through the media. Let us now consider the models I propose of academic media engagement. 24 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Models of academics in the media The roles of public intellectual, advocate and educator are not exclusive. Indeed, a single activity may straddle all three categories. For instance, a public intellectual may simultaneously draw on broader social and intellectual currents (a feature of the public intellectual), whilst agitating for institutional or conceptual reform (a feature of advocacy work) and describing developments in non-specialised language (a feature of the educator). It will also be apparent that the models have some relationship to three common descriptions of academics generally: those engaged in theory, those engaged in praxis and those focused on teaching. These categories are not essentially distinguished by their impact or profile, although on such measures the public intellectual rates higher than the activist, who rates higher than the educator. Nor does the categorisation imply a normative hierarchy. It is no more laudable to be a public intellectual than to be an advocate or educator. Rather, they are distinguished by differences in scope and agency. Public intellectuals tend to dictate the topics of their public engagement, through essays and opinion pieces that range across fields and even disciplines. Advocates and activists, in contrast tend to negotiate, for they are pushing awareness about an issue.The educator tends to be more isolated and ad hoc. Educators are sub-disciplinary specialists, summoned from their university’s media ‘experts’ list when a journalist requires background or clarification. The public intellectual is rarer but has more agency than the advocate, who is less common and has more agency than the educator. My categorisation may seem idiosyncratic, but any typology will be. US physicist Alan Lightman (2000) defines ‘public intellectual’, as simply any academic who ‘decides to write and speak to a larger audience than their professional colleagues’. Lightman’s definition, however, is too broad for Australian usage. In Australia, public intellectuals lie between the two upper levels of his classification. They exist in a range between the expert branching into the social and political terrain surrounding their discipline, and the god-like Einsteins or Steinems who come to symbolise some paradigm of thought (respectively, an humane scientific rationality and a brand of feminism). This conception of the public intellectual as a generalist accords with a definition offered by prolific US scholar, Judge Richard Posner (Posner 2001, Posner & vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The second pincer comes from within the academy and its publication hierarchies. To Guldi (2009), the humanities in particular retreated behind a wall of European influenced theorization that distanced both its language and interests from that of everyday discussions.This process was reinforced by the metrification of the ‘publish or perish’ doctrine, so that quality of one’s arguments was less important than the academic standing of the publication outlet. More public forms The public intellectual in Australia of expression, such as a book accessible to an educated but general readership, were discounted. This in turn It is an old lament that Australia is anti-intellectual; led to a flourishing of ever more specialised journals, unlike an imagined continental Europe (cf. Jennings fragmenting the conversa2002). In this lament, it is tion of the university. not just the parched climate What many bemoan is not an absence of Others, in Australia at that renders Australia inferintellectual voices from public debates. least, have diagnosed not tile to public intellectuals, Rather it is the ineffectiveness, even of the a death, but a recrudesnor even the undoubted most eloquent, in terms of affecting public cence of the public inteltendency of some media to sentiment let alone outcomes during social lectual. For Carter (2005) ‘dumb things down’. Acacontroversies. this is a product of an demics and creative people ‘economy’ of relations are also at fault: between market, media The intellectuals with their old maidish modesty and academy, driven more by the culture wars than and diffidence had let this country become a backwater, a paradise of dull boring mediocrities, a a flourishing of individuals. In this rebirth, Carter place where the artist or man of ideas could only diagnoses a paradox in the same public intellectuals live on in sufferance. (Grant , p. 76) decrying a weakening or decline in public discourse. He sees, in much of that, a self-aggrandisement, a ‘fanThis lament intersects with a contemporary contastic, even grotesque’ claim for intellectuals to play cern about the ‘death of the public intellectual’, itself a the role of ‘the nation’s saviours’. symptom of ‘anxiety about the viability of ... “the proWhat many bemoan is not an absence of intellecfession of thought”’ (Small 2002b, p. 1). In this view, tual voices from public debates. Rather it is the inefpublic intellectualism has been pincered on two fronts. fectiveness, even of the most eloquent, in terms of The first pincer is a decline in media values. The affecting public sentiment let alone outcomes during media has fragmented and in that process, it is said, social controversies. Without a hint of lament, Posner distinctions between enlightened debate and infotainclaims US public intellectuals serve but two functions. ment have elided, to the detriment of current affairs The first is entertainment - the best of them at least reporting (Turner 1996). Pre-existing tendencies to provide some sparkle. The second is solidarity – they scandalise have been overlaid with an assumption, tend to be chosen for their outspokenly liberal or conimbued in wider society, that all views, however (un) servative opinions (Posner 2001). If Posner is correct, informed, are of equal value. This misguided egalithen the media’s tendency to conflate provocation and tarianism is reinforced in some school pedagogy and attention-seeking with ‘talent’ and to present ideas as played upon by politicians keen to promote anti-intela battle between warring opinions, can be corrosive. lectualism (Hamilton & Madison, 2007). It manifests In its older manifestation, the public intellectual did itself in the prominence of talk-back radio, although not need to be a gadfly, commenting on every passthe neutrality of the space provided by talk-back is ing event. A single but sweeping contribution, such as subject to engineering by agenda-driven radio hosts the Boyer or Reith lectures, would suffice (e.g. Kry(Adams & Burton 1997). In this new world, there is gier 1997). Topicality was no substitute for depth.The little place for expert voices, unless they are willing to theorist, being by nature a generalist, played a greater replace thought with opinion (Ignatieff 1997, p. 4) and role than outspoken persons with ambitions to join compete with spin and provocative opinionation, and the commentariat. Trying to bridge the old and new, thereby becoming part of the ‘punditry’ (Gitlin 2000). Myers 2002, cf. Dessaix 1998). Having written a book on just about every topic, including Public Intellectuals: a Study of Decline, the ubiquitous Posner is an embodiment of the public intellectual. His position is echoed by He Weifang, Peking University lawyer and public intellectual: ‘A public intellectual needs to care not just about his branch of learning, but also about society’ (Weifang 2005). vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr 25 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V Robert Manne observed that whereas ‘public intellectual’ once connoted ‘engaged scholar’, the term has since broadened and ‘democratised’ to include anyone who comments regularly, ‘interestingly’ and with ‘depth’ on ‘public issues’ (Green & Rood 2005). One does not need to possess expert knowledge of the intricacies of a field, let alone a solid theoretical basis, to fit Manne’s definition. A scholarly dealing in ideas is hardly the exclusive domain of academics (Davidson 1995). A 2006 list of Australia’s Top 40 Public Intellectuals, courtesy of the immodestly named ‘API (Australian Public Intellectuals) Network’, neatly split into 20 academics and 20 freelance authors, novelists and politicians. If being a public intellectual were essentially just giving ‘interesting’ opinions, it would be a role in which any engaged scholars ought downplay their credentials. It would not be something done truly in the course of employment, however many brownie points it earned with their university’s external relations unit. The better definition of a ‘public intellectual’ is a generalist who is informed by philosophical positions and contextual understandings. Listing public intellectuals has become a parlour game. Besides the API list, the Sydney Morning Herald produced a top 10 in 2005. In both, legal academics are conspicuously absent, although two lawyers, Justice Michael Kirby and Father Frank Brennan, appear. Instead, the lists are dominated by historians. This may reflect a country perennially grappling with its history and identity, particularly when the ‘history wars’ were raging. Few scientists appear either, only the ubiquitous Dr Tim Flannery and Professor Fiona Stanley (and the latter for her family advocacy rather than her day job as a health academic). Australia is a distinctly utilitarian society. It is not that people knowledgeable in technologies (whether the professions or the sciences) are undervalued. Rather, technologists are experts in narrow domains and not free-rangers. Amongst scientists, cosmologists are an exception, as Professsors Hawking, Sagan and Davies attest. But having insight into the origins of the universe justifies a certain celebrity, given the ‘goose bump’ effect (Calavita 2006). The role of public intellectuals is also context-specific. They proliferate in the US, for instance, where media markets are more diverse. The more broadcasting hours and miles of newsprint there are to fill, the more opportunity there is for ‘talent’. However, diversity can create a clamorous din in which voices are 26 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W lost, so that the quantity of media speech may vary inversely to its impact. Modesty thresholds matter also: outspokenness is highly valued by most Americans. But this does not guarantee fame for mere outspokenness. Law Professor Cass Sunstein claims his greatest media impact was not made by dint of his intellect or even personality. Rather it occurred when, bored of repeating arguments against impeaching President Clinton, he convinced CNN to let him appear with his Rhodesian ridgeback. Viewers responded enthusiastically, wanting to know how to acquire such a beast (Jacobson 2006). Sunstein’s anecdote reveals the primacy of infotainment. It also confirms the definition of the public intellectual as having significant agency. He not only bargained an appearance for his pet, he convinced CNN to run a later story on the legal incidences of an airline losing one’s dog. Blogging as Public Intellectualism One’s chances of becoming a public intellectual in Australia are slim. Within many academics, nevertheless, there lurks a wannabe public intellectual, if only enough editors would pay attention. Even in Continental Europe, where the importance of the intellectual was historically cultivated, there is limited demand for public intellectuals and no explicit career path. One recent strategy has been to seek to turbo-charge an academic profile through blogging. Blogging is do-it-yourself public intellectualism. It encourages free-ranging commentary and, through hyper-links, it facilitates integrated discourses. Unless it is merely a form of self-exposure, like publishing a diary, the very purpose of blogging is to reach a wider audience. Much has been made of the transformative potential of the internet as the future of media. However blogging, and indeed the entire Web 3.0 (or interactive web) phenomenon, at their worst exemplify the potential for the internet to undermine the public role of ‘the expert’ and corral debates into warring camps. There are numerous, prominent social science bloggers in Australia. Well known examples include economists John Quiggin and Steve Keen, social scientist and lawyer Andrew Leigh and political commentator Peter Brent. Each successfully integrates blogging with the more traditional role of newspaper commentary. Brent is an interesting example of a junior academic using blogging to gain prominence. Blogging in Australia, however, has only a fraction of the influence, density and variety of blogging in its vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W away from associations and ideology, and towards indispiritual home, the US. Part of the reason for this is viduals and single-issues. the nature and size of the markets. Even a niche area Professor George Williams, a high-profile constitulike US electoral law, for example, has spawned several tional expert, once described himself as an activist. By high profile and highly professional blogs (e.g. Hasen). this he meant his scholarship was guided by key law Blogs in science and law tend to the particular, rather reform causes such as a bill of rights. He has advanced than the general. This fits disciplines where in-depth, these through a Centre (the Gilbert + Tobin Centre for technical specialisation is bred at the expense of genPublic Law), through traditional academic means such eralisation. Such blogs are less an outlet for public as research grants, conferences and publications, and intellectualism than a public resource, an open-archive through submissions to inquiries and the media. The of expert musings on specialist issues. term activist however is loaded. It implies pushing for Several factors militate against blogs becoming a reform. One can just as common bridge for Ausreadily advocate against tralian academics into the ... there is limited time to attend to reform. Professor Jim Allan, public domain. One is the the core demands of publication, a prominent conservative size of the audience for administration and teaching, let alone opponent of a bill of rights Australian issues: most the daily commitment of a sustained, is an example of this. blogs become discussions professional blog. Advocacy in the media amongst friends, with the inevitably raises old conodd troll to enliven things cerns about losing nuance (a troll being an anonyand reflectiveness in pushing a cause and of elevatmous provocateur). Another is university workloads: ing ego above expertise. To Raimond Gaita there is a there is limited time to attend to the core demands need to ‘discipline the tendency in public discussion of publication, administration and teaching, let alone to forsake understanding for polemic’ (1996, pp. 34-5). the daily commitment of a sustained, professional blog. Gaita stresses that the tone, rather than the breadth or One alternative is the group blog (e.g. the left-of-centre volume of one’s utterances, is essential to intellectual sociological blog, Larvatus Prodeo). It is a short step life. Given the ad hominem nature of much debate however from a group blog to an online newspaper (as in Australia, even when their own tone is respectful crikey.com has demonstrated). and their views backed by research, academic advoThe Advocate cates cannot necessarily expect respectful responses: this much is illustrated by the cases of Professor David The advocate is a familiar figure in the social sciences. Peetz and others (Hamilton and Maddison 2007). The Confronted with threats such as nuclear weapons internet, with its sense of anonymity, exacerbates ad and global warming, it is also a role familiar to some hominem attacks. An academic who recently pubscientists. Historically academics have not been shy lished a comment on media bias was put in the stocks of advocating causes. But they tended to do so via by News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt, who cut and community lobbies. Such bodies could channel their pasted the academic’s picture on his blog. The blog discipline and rhetorical expertise. There is an innate then became a forum for vituperative attacks by readmodesty about this, since the influence of others plays ers, of such ad hominem and anti-intellectual quality as a mediating role. Participation via such groups is also ‘Smug little git has an eminently punchable face’ and attractive because the status of the group can amplify ‘What else would you expect from a tax leach.Another one’s pitch. case of those who can’t do, teach’ (Wilson 2009). Such groups still exist. Whether out of public-spirThe risks depend on context. Professor Weifang itedness, to satisfy ‘community service’ obligations, (2005) was asked if there was a ‘conflict between the or simply out of the joy of engaging with community social responsibility of public intellectuals and the issues, many academics will be involved with such demands of their scholarship’. He rejected this as a groups at some time in their career. But today, aca‘false premise’. Engaged intellectuals take an intrinsidemic activism is also pursued directly, rather than cally scholarly approach to their engagement; conthrough intermediate groups. This says something versely great thinkers are remembered because they about the evolution of the voice and profile of academengage with issues of public importance. In China, culics beyond the cloisters. It also reflects a social trend vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr 27 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V tural factors, such as reverence for intellectuals, may provide a more stable recognition of the role of academics in public affairs. But there is a counter-balancing self-restraint practised by most Asian intellectuals, part of a wider cultural preference for less combative approaches than we are used to in the Millian, anglophone world. In relation to immodesty, as long as the advocate confines herself to a few causes in which she has passion and expertise, she does not risk overreaching the way a public intellectual might. But colleagues may still see the activist as lacking humility. She will be pushing editors, for instance, and perhaps under her own name rather than as spokesperson for a formal movement. Her best defence is that the cause should be judged on its merits, not any egos attached to it. The Educator The educator-in-the-media will be the most familiar model. It harmonises with the conception of academics as expert-teachers. It encapsulates the more limited, ad hoc requests that academics are most likely to receive when an issue captures the media’s attention. The media turn to academics for discussion points, angles, background and explanation. The motivation may not be elevated: the journalist may simply want to pad out a story with quotes or to lend it gravitas by citing an ‘expert’ but with little interest in what is said or who says it. But motivation is irrelevant if the net effect is to give the academic an audience, to add to the swirl of public information and ideas. This educative role can be difficult. Reflecting a lack of agency (except to decline a request), the educator may have little say over how their words are used. Only a few sentences, if any, may be attributed. The interview, especially if for broadcast, may take hours to arrange, including re-takes to make the interviewer sound perfect and ad nauseam, clichéd shots of the academic strolling on campus or seated before such artefacts of learning as books or a computer. A diligent academic may need preparation for an interview, especially if the topic is intricate. In commenting on individuals, there are ethical and tortious obligations to treat the protagonists fairly. Few opportunities to play the role of educator give the academic much time to prepare or to speak in-depth. Exceptions are rare. The rarest and choicest (if lowest rating) is Radio National, where programmes like the Health or Law Reports offer 5–10 minutes to explore a topic. 28 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W More common is an invitation onto talk-back radio. Superficially, this may seem to be the antithesis of Radio National’s sober reflectiveness. But not always. Radio is a dynamic medium. Talk radio is time-rich and relatively unplanned. The better producers let the ‘expert’ guide the preliminary discussion, and listener questions can be as diverse and engaging as one gets from a narrower group, such as university students. (The most insightful questions I have fielded were during the ABC graveyard shift: all credit to insomniacs and truck-drivers). A third outlet that allows the educator to play a less constrained role is the ‘op-ed’ or opinion article. This may involve cultivating a friendly editor, since most unsolicited material is ignored. Increasingly there are outlets for online publication, such as ABC Unleashed and APO (Australian Policy Online). Op-eds require streamlined prose in short paragraphs. Some academics see this call to pithiness as a dumbing-down. But it is no mean discipline for those (especially in law) otherwise rewarded for prolixity and jargon, to rediscover tenets of communication, such as addressing one’s audience, that after all are the hallmarks of good teaching. The educator in the media is nonetheless constrained by her context. Media ownership in Australia is concentrated, in risk-averse proprietors and editorsin-chief who at least unconsciously affirm the perception that Australia is not an intellectual nirvana. Whilst public broadcasting in the two countries may be on a par, for historical and market reasons there is not the diversity of quality newspapers in Australia as in Britain. Mediaphobia and the modern university Academia can be a cloistered and a bitchy place. Take the experience of a young historian, whose PhD was promoted by a literary agent and who became a regular on the ABC’s ‘Einstein Factor’. She found ‘middle aged male academics’ deriding her as too ‘entrepreneurial’ (Green & Rood). Given how the modern academic has to become an entrepreneur to compete for funding, ‘entrepreneurial’ should not be an epithet for promoting one’s research. However, the response may not have been pure jealousy.A research reputation is priceless in academia: broadcasting has the potential to exploit and even trip-up young and telegenic academics. Mediaphobia, or at least scepticism, remains a legitimate academic position. It is a response to three media traits, which are linked by the media’s propensity to vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W distort rather than simply mediate. These traits are the Harmony with restraint media’s short attention span and the churning of news cycles; the media’s preference for the scandalous or titHow might we harmonise media engagement with illating, over considerations such as public policy; and academic values? Leaving aside egoistical and finanthe media’s elevation of opinion into analysis. Each of cial benefits (Posner 2001) such engagement can have these is anathema to the academic desire for reflecintrinsic benefits. Journalists bring contemporary contion, depth and expert nuance. troversies to academics for reflection and comment. Let me relate two blatant examples. At the height Communicating in a tight framework to a broad audiof interest in Pauline Hanson’s criminal trial, a Sydney ence can hone one’s plain English, and trigger reflecradio station contacted me. Without pausing for introtion on one’s assumptions. A similar reflexive process ductions, the voice said: ‘It’s the 2YY newsroom. Will occurs when we engage with students. you come on air and bag the Achieving such harDirector of Public Prosecumony, however, requires Achieving ... harmony, however, requires tions?’ Declining this loaded the academic to act with the academic to act with integrity as much invitation, I was asked, ‘Can integrity as much as it does as it does on any media training. No-one you recommend someone on any media training. should feel pressured into media work if it who will?’ A second egreNo-one should feel presdoes not cohere with their personality and gious example arose from sured into media work if it skills. television reporting of the does not cohere with their same issue. A commercial personality and skills. Acanetwork edited my comdemics need to operate ments in mid-sentence, deleting a significant qualificawithin their limitations, whether social or intellectual. tion.They did so to invent a black-and-white viewpoint, They need to say ‘no’ to media invitations outside their not out of concern for comprehensibility, as the comexpertise. Integrity thus demands self-restraint. ment wasn’t a complex one. At its simplest, this means that someone who is Such experiences are not confined to commercial unusually shy should avoid broadcast interviews. It is media. Public broadcasters can inject editorial slant a condition of employment that academics conquer (Maley 2000). Typically, problems occur through their reticence about public speaking to make a fist misunderstanding or constraints of space and time, of lecturing. But no-one is obliged to appear in the rather than malice. But, whatever the cause, it scares media. Invariably the media can find another expert. some into avoiding the media. For others, the lesson A media appearance that bombs is more than egois to negotiate with journalists for a right to vet any deflating and harmful to one’s reputation: it is likely quotes, or to do only live interviews.Another bugbear to be unenlightening. of many academics is the media query which is more Whilst in the ideal intellectual, the mind is ‘unconakin to a lazy student’s request for research assistance tainable’ (Lightman 2000) it is a rare confluence of gifts than a genuine request for comment. Backgroundand fortune that make up the public intellectual. Such ing journalists can be thankless; but the alternative gifts are suppressed in many academics, given the factiis unleashing an uninformed journalist or beat-up on tious technicality of most sub-disciplines. This doesn’t the public. mean that academics should not be active citizens. It is not just journalistic practices which present It does, however, require self-restraint. For example, pitfalls for academics. The corporate university can when participating in public debates, even at the ‘grafinflame matters. Universities are now competitive fiti’ level of letters-to-the-editor or blog contributions, businesses as much as spaces for advancing knowlacademics should not mis-use titles and affiliations. edge. Universities market themselves as brands, hence Another example is referring onwards invitations outmedia attention is one way university bureaucrats side areas of genuine knowledge and interest. measure success. External relations staff will contact The same self-restraint asks academics to be wary academics at odd hours and beseech them to comof partisanship (Devins 1999). This is not a call to be ment on issues outside their domain or send ‘urgent’ dispassionate: dispassion may be artificial and dull. emails to all faculty calling for ‘immediate comment’ A strong philosophical position does not mean alleon some fleeting news item. giance to party or faction. Provided one’s philosophivol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr 29 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V cal positions are consistent, but adaptable, one can be controversial without being partisan in the doctrinaire sense. But there is a collective action: the media is likely to favour those who will meet its preference for stridency. Self-restraint also requires public passions to arise from interests rooted in expertise. Passion is a laudable element of the models of academics as advocates and public intellectuals. There is some analogy with the idea of liberal education, which counsels teachers against overt partisanship. But the counsel is not quite as strong. Teachers should foster informed debate amongst students, conscious they have some monopoly and power in the classroom. The academic in the media possesses little power, let alone monopoly, over their audience. Not ceding the field Self-restraint however should not lead to over-constraint. A collective disengagement from the media is untenable, in part because of tenure. Not every academic has a personal obligation to contribute via the media, but because as a whole we enjoy some intellectual freedom, funded in large part by public revenues, the academic community must engage in public debates and education (Bernstein 1993). Ceding the field will not leave the field empty either: if academic experts did not engage, others less expert will. Writing about contemporary economic commentary, Millmow and Courvisanos (2007) argue that academic economists are ‘reticent’ compared to their forbears.That reticence might maintain scholarly purity. But it does not mean that ongoing reporting will be impartial. Instead, the media is filled with financial market economists, who bring a particular market perspective, ideology and self-interest to their commentary. The analogy we began with, between the media and academia as two parts of the ‘knowledge production and dissemination business’, is a superficial one. The media’s power in constructing the public sphere carries risks. Academics should not become hired mouthpieces in agenda-driven debates. Yet academics cannot mandate balance: that is up to editorial forces beyond our reach. The media’s ultimate focus is on dissemination, that is on reporting developments in entertaining or provocative ways. The dissemination of academic knowledge has traditionally centred on processes designed to ensure respect for complexity and nuance. 30 Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Nonetheless, the media is an inescapable force. The question really is the degree to which academic discourse can adjust to use the media in the dissemination of intellectual insights. Without sacrificing the self-restraint necessary to retain integrity, from the most prominent public intellectual contribution, to the most particular act of public education, media engagement can be a valuable extension of academic endeavour. Media engagement should not be mandated in every individual’s job description, but it is an important calling of academia as a whole. Graeme Orr is an associate professor of law at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. References Adams, P & Burton, L 1997, Talkback: Emperors of the Air, Allen & Unwin. Bernstein, M 1993, ‘In Praise of the Tenure: A Cautionary Essay’, 71 Washington University Law Quarterly 1017. Brent, P (Blog) Mumble. Accessed 1 December 2009 at <http://www.mumble. com.au/> Calavita, K 2002, ‘Engaged Research, “Goose Bumps” and the Role of the Public Intellectual’ 36 Law and Society Review 5. Carter, D 2001, ‘Public Intellectuals, Book Culture and Civil Society’, 24 (Dec) Australian Humanities Review. crikey (Online daily). Accessed 1 December 2009 at <http://www.crikey.com.au> Davidson, J 1995, ‘Scholars on the Loose’, 5(8) Eureka Street 24. Dessaix, R 1998, Speaking their Minds: Intellectuals and the Public Culture in Australia, ABC Books. Devins, N 1999, ‘Bearing False Witness: the Clinton Impeachment and the Future of Academic Freedom’, 149 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 165 Gaita, R 1996, ‘Truth, the Universities and Public Intellectuals’, 40(9) Quadrant 34. Gitlin, T 2000, ‘The Renaissance of Anti-Intellectualism’, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/12/2000, B7. Grant, J 2005, ‘Ins and Outs’, 64(3) Meanjin 76. Green, S & Rood, D 2005, ‘Brain Power’, The Age, 18/4/2005, 8. Guldi, J 2009, ‘The Surprising Death of the Public Intellectual and a Metaphor for its Restoration’, absent 3, <http://www.absentmag.org> Hasen, R (Blog) Election Law Blog: The law of politics and the politics of law: election law, campaign finance, legislation, voting rights, initiatives, redistricting and the Supreme Court nomination process. Accessed 1 December 2009 at <http://electionlawblog.org/> Hamilton, C & Maddison, S 2007, ‘Dissent in Australia’ in Hamilton, C & Maddison, S (eds), Silencing Dissent: How the Australian Government is Controlling Public Opinion and Stifling Debate, Allen & Unwin. Ignatieff, M 1997, ‘The Decline and Fall of the Public Intellectual’, 104(3) Queen’s Quarterly 394. Jacobson, J 2006, ‘Loving the Limelight’, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 21/4/2006, A12. Jennings, J 2002, ‘Deaths of the Intellectual: a Comparative Autopsy’ in Small, H (ed.) The Public Intellectual, Blackwell Publishing. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I Keen, S (Blog) Steve Keen’s Debtwatch: Analysing the Global Debt Bubble. Accessed 1 December 2009 at <http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/> Krygier, M 1997, Between Fear and Hope: Hybrid Thoughts on Public Values, ABC Books. Larvatus Prodeo (Blog). Accessed 1 December 2009 at <http://larvatusprodeo. net/> Leigh, A (Blog) New ideas on economics, politics and current events, from an Antipodean perspective. Accessed 1 December 2009 at < http://andrewleigh. com/ > V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Posner, R & Myers, J 2002, ‘Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline’, Carnegie Council ‘Books for Breakfast’ Programme, 11 March <http://www.cceia.org/ resources/transcripts/130.html> Quiggin, J (Blog) Commentary on Australian and world economic events from a social democratic perspective. 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Wark, M 2001, ‘McKenzie Wark responds to David Carter’s “Public Intellectuals, Book Culture and Civil Society”’, Australian Humanities Review 24 (Dec-Feb). Nile, R 2006, ‘First Cohort for Thought’, The Australian Literary Review, 4/10/2006, <http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,2045980125132,00.html> Posner, R 2001, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline, Harvard University Press. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Weifang, H 2005, ‘The Legal Scholar as Public Intellectual: an interview with He Weifang’, 1 China Rights Forum. <http://www.hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.1. 2005/1.2005TheLegalScholar.pdf> Wilson, J 2009, ‘Why are We Paying for Andrew Bolt?’, newmatilda.com 18 August. <http://newmatilda.com/2009/08/18/why-are-we-paying-andrew-bolt> Academics and the media in Australia, Graeme Orr 31 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S â€™ R E V I E W Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up? Ross Williams Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne Two decades on from the abolition of the binary divide in higher education in Australia, what has happened to the relative research performance of institutions that started from quite diverse positions? We use two databases, Thomson Reuters ISI and Scopus, to measure growth rates in research output. We find that there has been some convergence in research publications, with the newer universities catching up on the traditional research-intensive universities. No Go8 university is in the top quartile of growth rates. In absolute terms, however, the output differences remain very large. The findings are not unduly sensitive to the choice of database. Introduction The abolition of the binary divide in higher education in Australia is now two decades old. Institutions have now had time to adjust to new mission statements and financial incentives. In the 1990s the former colleges of advanced education were still adapting to the new requirements, especially in research and research training. At the same time, many established universities were preoccupied with bedding down changes arising from amalgamations and takeovers. With the greater stabilization of the system in the last decade, now is an appropriate time to look at whether there has been any convergence in the research performance of Australian universities. Research funds have for many years been allocated competitively but, more recently, federal governments have signalled that performance will play an 32 increased role in government funding of research. The disbandoned Research Quality Framework (RQF) has been replaced by the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. With government funding for teaching Australian undergraduate students, stagnant and full-fee undergraduate places are now not permitted, Australian universities can increase revenue from three sources: international students, fee-paying postgraduate students, and research funds. An improved research performance increases income from all three sources: directly from research funding allocations, indirectly through an improvement in international rankings and its effect on fee-paying student demand. The financial incentives are for less research-intensive universities to improve their research output; in relative terms this is easier to do from a low base. Some convergence in research performance is there- Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up?, Ross Williams vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V fore expected as, unlike many European and Asian countries, federal governments have not chosen to fund selected institutions at a higher rate for either teaching or research. The measurement of research performance is a key driver of international rankings and will become of greater importance in allocating government research funds in Australia with the phasing in of the Sustainable Research Excellence in Australia (SRE) initiative. It follows that the attributes of the databases used to measure performance are of growing importance. Two databases dominate the measurement of research performance: the ISI Web of Knowledge, provided by Thomson Reuters, and Scopus, provided by Elsevier. The two most objective measures of international research performance are based on Thomson Reuters’ ISI: Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJT) and the rankings by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT). The other popular ranking has been Times Higher Education-QS which, although based primarily on surveys, in recent years used Scopus to derive its quantitative measures. From 2010 the Times Higher Education rankings are to be totally rethought and the database will change to Thomson Reuters. QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) will provide separate rankings using the Scopus database. Within Australia, Scopus is the database used in the ERA exercise, the results of which are planned to feed into the SRE initiative. Because of the dominant positions of these two databases we evaluate them as alternative measures of research output of Australian universities. Does one database favour a particular type of institution or do they yield similar results? Data We measure research performance by publications in the form of articles, conference papers and reviews. The three categories are listed separately in ISI Web of Science and in Scopus. We choose to work with the aggregate figure as there is some arbitrariness in allocating publications between the three categories. Also, the aggregate publication figure for ISI Web of Science can be cross-checked against the data from another Thomson Reuters product, ESI. ESI is specifically designed to provide information on institutions, whereas ISI Web of Science (and Scopus) is designed primarily for locating publications on topics and the work of individual authors. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The databases were interrogated by searching the affiliations of authors. Care needs to be taken with universities that have international namesakes, such as Newcastle, Victoria and New England, and those with overlapping names, such as the University of South Australia and Flinders University of South Australia. It is relatively easy to use ISI for our purpose but Scopus requires a search over the different styles that can be used for affiliation, e.g. University of Sydney, Sydney Univ. Unfortunately, it was not possible to get reliable estimates for Victoria University and this institution was deleted from all the analysis. We also exclude nonmembers of Universities Australia, namely, The University of Notre Dame Australia and the offshoots of overseas universities. We look at annual output of Australian universities over the period 2004–2008, which, allowing for institutional and publication lags, will reflect changes in government policy over the last decade. The period will also begin to pick up the effect on institutional policies of international rankings following the first SJT rankings in 2003. The importance that institutions place on international rankings has been documented by Hazelkorn (2007). Data are taken from the online data banks as at August 2009. The Scopus data incorporated the enlarged list of journals in the humanities that were added in June 2009. Scopus included around 15,500 peer-reviewed journals, ISI around 12,500 journals. Of course, with the growing emphasis in the ERA and elsewhere on quality of research, greater coverage per se is not necessarily an aim in its own right. The aggregate output for all Australian universities as measured by the two databases is given in Table 1. Overall, Scopus indexed 15 per cent more articles published by researchers in Australian universities than ISI. Comparing Thomson Reuters data, publications as indexed by ISI were a little above those from ESI, but the maximum difference, for any institution, over the whole period 2004–2008 was 7 per cent. Table 1: Australian university publications (‘000)‡: 2004–2008 Data Base Articles Conference proceedings Reviews Total Scopus 140.7 30.3 18.1 189.1 ISI 122.4 13.1 9.1 144.6 2.31 1.99 1.31 Scopus/ISI 1.15 ‡ Includes all members of Universities Australia except Victoria University (see text). Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up?, Ross Williams 33 A U S T R A L I A Research performance of groups of universities N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Table 2: Classification of Australian Universities Sandstone and Brick (Go8 + Tas) Australian National University (ANU)* Monash University* University of Adelaide* University of Melbourne* University of New South Wales (UNSW)* University of Queensland* University of Sydney* University of Tasmania* University of Western Australia (UWA)* Unitechs (ATN + Swinburne) Curtin University of Technology Queensland University of Technology (QUT) RMIT University Swinburne University of Technology University of South Australia (UniSA) University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) We first look at the performance of groups of universities using the two databases. We classify universities into four groups, based on the nomenclature used by Marginson and Considine (2000), except that New Universities Australian Catholic University (ACU) we shift Swinburne University from Bond University* ‘New’ to ‘Unitech’. The groups are Gumtrees Charles Darwin University given below and the allocations in Deakin University Charles Sturt University Table 2. Flinders University of South Australia* CQUniversity • Sandstone or Brick: Go8 universiGriffith University* Edith Cowan University James Cook University* Southern Cross University ties plus Tasmania La Trobe University University of Ballarat • Gumtrees: Universities established Macquarie University University of Canberra from the early 1960s to mid 1970s Murdoch University University of Southern Queensland (USQ) whose surrounds are typically University of Newcastle* University of Western Sydney (UWS) planted with native flora. University of New England (UNE) Victoria University (not included in analysis – see text) • Unitechs: Institutions strong in University of Wollongong technological areas * denotes university had a clinical medical school before 2006. • New Universities: Mainly estabTable 3: Share of Australian publications by university lished after 1987, the post Dawkins era. groupings, 2004-08 (per cent) Universities that have a clinical medical program Group ISI Scopus ISI Scopus have an inbuilt advantage when ranking institutions by (total) (total) (articles) (articles) research performance. For example, over the period Sandstone/ 67.9 64.5 68.0 65.7 2004-2008, 23 per cent of publications of Australian Brick universities were in clinical medicine, as indexed by ESI. We therefore also divide institutions between those that have a medical school (with first student intakes earlier than 2006) and those that do not. Table 3 compares the percentage of Australian university publications that are accounted for by each group of institutions over the period 2004-08, using the two databases. Using ISI, the Sandstone/Brick universities accounted for nearly 68 per cent of all publications; this percentage rises to 76 per cent if all institutions with a clinical medical school are included. Using Scopus, the contribution of the Sandstone/Brick universities was three percentage points lower (two per cent lower if only articles are included). The obverse of this is that the contribution of Unitechs was higher in Scopus than in ISI, but in part this is because Scopus included more conference proceedings, a form of publication that is more common in engineering and related disciplines. The Unitechs accounted for 20 per cent of all Australian conference proceedings papers in Scopus. We now turn to the question of improvements in relative performance. In particular, are the newer universities catching up? To answer this question we look 34 Gumtree 18.4 18.4 18.6 18.8 Unitech 8.9 11.4 8.5 9.9 New 4.8 5.7 4.9 5.5 at the share of output of each university group in each of the five years 2004-2008. The results are given in Table 4 for the two databases. The general finding is that the Unitechs and New universities have increased their share of total publications at the expense of the Sandstone/Brick universities. Under either database, the share of publications attributable to the Sandstone/ Brick universities has fallen by just under 2 percentage points. Thus, there is evidence of some convergence in research performance, although the research-intensive Sandstone/Brick universities still dominate, producing a little under two-thirds of total output in 2008. Research performance of individual universities The use of groupings facilitates analysis by controlling for variables such as age and profile, but within Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up?, Ross Williams vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V some of the groups there is considerable heterogeneity. In this section we look at performance of individual institutions. We again ask: does the choice of database matter greatly and which universities have exhibited the greater rate of growth in publications? The ranking of institutions by absolute output is not particularly sensitive to whether ISI or Scopus is used as the database. The only noticeable effects are that the Unitechs improve their rank when Scopus is used (QUT, for example, increases 5 places), and Macquarie, Tasmania, James Cook and Flinders each fall 4 places when Scopus replaces ISI. The rankings at the top (Sandstone/Brick) and the bottom (New) are virtually identical using the two databases. At the top lie the Go8 universities in the same order: Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, UNSW, Monash, ANU, UWA and Adelaide. These rankings are not adjusted for size of institution. To look at changes in performance we fit exponential time trends to the five years of data for each institution. Rates-of-growth measures have the advantage that they control for profile. The section 3 findings for the groupings would suggest that some of the new universities are likely to have the fastest rates of growth. In Table 5 we present rates of output growth of individual universities grouped into quartiles. We do this based on both the ISI and Scopus databases. In general, the two databases produce quite similar results. Note, however, that all the rates of growth have some upward bias imparted by the inclusion of some Australian journals only in the later years of the period covered. As expected, the highest rates of growth are exhibited by the New universities and by the Unitechs, albeit in several cases the growth is from a very low base. No Sandstone/Brick universities appear in the E R S I T I E S â€™ R E V I E W Table 4: Annual shares of publications by university group, 2004-08 (per cent) Group 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Sandstone/ Brick 68.2 68.6 68.3 68.2 66.5 Gumtree 18.8 18.2 18.1 18.2 18.8 Unitech 8.6 8.5 8.8 8.8 9.4 New 4.3 4.7 4.9 4.8 5.3 Sandstone/ Brick 65.6 64.7 64.6 64.1 63.8 Gumtree 18.9 18.6 18.4 18.4 18.2 ISI Scopus Unitech 10.3 11.2 11.4 11.7 12.0 New 5.2 5.5 5.6 5.8 6.0 top quartile and three are located in the bottom quartile using either database. At least as measured by research output, there is evidence of convergence in the research performance of Australian universities. The correlation coefficients between base output levels in 2004 and rates of growth over the period 2004-2008 are negative: -0.30 for Scopus and -0.29 for ISI, both significant at the 10 per cent level. Publications and other research performance measures Research performance measures include total publications, publications in prestigious journals, citations, competitive grants obtained and election of researchers to academies. Publications per se have historically Table 5: Annual rates of growth of research publications, Australian universities, 2004-2008. Quartile ISI Scopus Q1[highest growth] ACU, Ballarat, Bond, Charles Darwin, Charles Sturt, Curtin, Sunshine Coast, UniSA, Wollongong ACU, Ballarat, Bond, Charles Darwin, Charles Sturt, Curtin, QUT, Sunshine Coast, UniSA Q2 CQUniversity, Deakin, Griffith, James Cook, Melbourne, Monash, QUT, Sydney, USQ CQUniversity, Deakin, Griffith, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT, UTS, UWS, Wollongong Q3 Adelaide, Edith Cowan, Flinders, Macquarie, Queensland, Southern Cross, Tasmania, UTS, UWS Canberra, James Cook, Macquarie, Queensland, Swinburne, Sydney, Tasmania, UNSW, UWS Q4 ANU, Canberra, La Trobe, Murdoch, Newcastle, RMIT, Swinburne, UNE, UNSW, UWA ANU, Adelaide, Edith Cowan, Flinders, La Trobe, Murdoch, Newcastle, Southern Cross, UNE, UWA Notes: Universities in same quartile for both data bases are in italics. ISI: Q1 is > 14.5% per year, Q2 is 10.3% to 14.5%, Q3 is 7.5% to 10.3% and Q4 is < 7.5 %. Scopus: Q1 is > 14.0 % per year, Q2 is 10% to 14.0%, Q3 is 7.5% to 10%, Q4 is < 7.5% vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up?, Ross Williams 35 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V been important for Australian universities because they are used to allocate research funding. In previous work (Williams and Van Dyke, 2007, 2008) we have found high correlations between alternative measures of research performance for Australian universities. Australian data, at least at the institutional level, tend to confirm a strong empirical regularity between citations and publications first observed at the international level by Katz (2000). Katz found that for both countries and a range of scientific disciplines citations increased more than proportionately with publications. Large research groups generate more citations per paper. More precisely, he found: citations = k. publications β where β > 1. Using data for nations he found β = 0.27, but it was a little lower for countries and disciplines. Katz’s findings extend to data for Australian universities. For example, using ESI data for the period 2004-2008, the exponent on publications is 1.18 with a standard error of 0.04. Within academia, the international research standing of an institution depends heavily on publications in the top journals in the various disciplines. The existing databases do lop off the lower-quality tail of journals; ISI, for example has well-established criteria for inclusion in its citation indexes. However, further truncation is frequently used for quality measures. The importance of adjusting output measures for quality depends on the extent to which the distribution of output across journals varies between institutions. However, there is little empirical evidence on the relationship between publications in quality journals and total publications. The HEEACT rankings provide data on both total ISI publications in the last two years and publications in the top 5 per cent of journals within each field of study, as measured by ISI journal-impact factors. The (Spearman) rank correlation between the two series in the 2009 rankings, for the top 100 ranked institutions, is relatively high at 0.80. Completion of the ERA exercise in Australia will provide further evidence on the extent to which measuring quality affects the rankings of research performance. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W more technologically oriented institutions are favoured by the inclusion of more conference proceedings in the Scopus database we used. We conjecture that the two databases are similarly unlikely to give markedly different results for citation counts. We found evidence of some convergence across institutions in the number of publications produced, with the more technological institutions and newer universities gaining ground at the expense of the older research-intensive universities. But is this an evening up or an evening down of research performance across institutions? Influenced by their relatively poor performance in the international rankings, countries such as China, Germany and France have introduced differential funding models. Greater concentration of research funding on selected research-intensive institutions may not increase total research output, but it is likely to lead to an improved national presence in the international rankings and thus greater recognition of the academic standing of a nation’s universities. In Australia, rather than differential funding of institutions, government policy is directed towards concentration of research funding on teams, irrespective of their location. This policy will contribute to an increase in the total sum of quality research in Australia but it is an open question as to whether such an approach fully exploits the synergies that arise from large clusters of researchers. Ross Williams is a Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne. References Hazelkorn, E 2007, ‘The impact of league tables on ranking systems on higher education decision making’, Higher Education Management and Policy, 19 (2), pp. 81-105. Katz, JS 2000, ‘Scale-independent indicators and research evaluation’, Science and Public Policy, 27, pp. 23-36. Marginson, S & Considine, M 2000, The enterprise university: power, governance and reinvention in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Williams, R & Van Dyke, N 2007, ‘Measuring the international standing of universities with an application to Australian universities’, Higher Education, 53, pp. 819-841. Williams, R & Van Dyke, N 2008, ‘Reputation and reality: ranking major disciplines in Australian universities’, Higher Education, 56, pp.1-28. Concluding remarks In this paper we have used two commercially available databases, ISI and Scopus, to provide output measures of research performance. The results are not particularly sensitive to the database used, except that the 36 Research output of Australian universities: are the newer institutions catching up?, Ross Williams vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern University of Ballarat The use of casual staff, including casual teaching staff, is a common practice in Australian universities and the numbers of casual staff in the sector has increased significantly in the last decade. The traditional profile for casual teachers was that of industry expert and students. Recent research has shown that the casual teacher is now more likely to be a person holding several casual jobs and seeking a career. Likewise, general staff in casual positions are often people who would prefer job security and a career. This research was conducted at a regional Australian university and used a questionnaire targeting staff in both the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and higher education divisions in all occupational groups as well as in depth interviews of casual teaching staff. The findings show that the traditional profile no longer applies. Staff employed in casual positions often hold more than one job, at more than one institution and are seeking job security. They frequently, but unsuccessfully use casual work as a career strategy. The result is frustrated careers. Introduction The use of casual employment in the wider Australian workplace, including in higher education, is a long-standing practice. It has risen, according to Burgess, Campbell and May (2008) from 15.8 per cent in 1984 to 26.9 per cent in 2006. They point out that the extent of casualisation varies by industry and exceeds 50 per cent in industries such as hospitality and retail. Through a cross-national comparison of modes of employment Campbell (2004) concluded that casualisation in Australia is distinctive in its restrictions of rights and benefits for casual employees, the high incidence and spread of casualisation and its long term nature. Whereas traditionally casual employment was used when there was a ‘special’ need such as covering peak periods, absences or unpredictable demands, in vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Australia it is used by many employers for jobs that are predictable, long-term and on-going (Campbell, 2004). The dominant characteristics of casual employees, according to the Australian Government Productivity Commission (AGPC), are that they work part-time, they are young (almost half are below the age of 25), they are female with care responsibilities and they are generally working in lower skilled occupations. Casual employment is more common in regional and rural areas influenced in part by the itinerant and seasonal nature of agricultural work (AGPC, 2006, p. xxi). In the higher education sector in the ten years prior to 2005, casual staff numbers increased by 40 per cent, while overall university employment only increased by 11 per cent (DEST, 2006). Following a sustained push by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) high levels of fixed term and casual employment in the The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 37 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V university sector led to the negotiation of the Higher Education Conditions of Employment (HECE) award in 1998, which limited the situations in which nonstandard modes of employment could be used. However HECE was overridden by legislative reform and the Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs) in 2005 which prescribed that no restrictions could be placed on the number of casual staff employed by a university (Rood, 2005; van Barneveld, 2009). The present federal government abolished HEWRRs requirements. However, even prior to HEWRRs, casual employment periods of up to 10 years were reported in the higher education sector (Junor, 2004). It remains to be seen whether the new political climate and the Fair Work Act (2009) will see a decrease in the use of casual staff. The positions for which casual employment is used in the higher education sector include teaching, research, administration and non-administrative roles such as cleaning and maintenance, overall a very different profile to that proposed by the Productivity Commission (2006). Research by Junor (2004, p. 277) shows that casual employment represents around 40 per cent of academic staff employment, which is significantly higher than the Australian average rate of casual employment. In the TAFE sector, more than 50 per cent of teachers are employed on a casual basis (Forward, 2007). The traditional labour source for casual academic teachers was industry experts and students. In research conducted in the USA, Gappa and Leslie (1993) found that four categories reflected the casual academic workforce. These were the traditional industry expert and professional whose primary employment is a full-time job in industry; the freelancer, whose preference is to be employed in a variety of part-time causal jobs; the career ender, the person who has reduced their hours in their transition to retirement; and the aspiring academic, highly qualified people seeking academic work. According to Gappa and Leslie, in their sample, the aspiring academic was in the minority. Likewise Husbands and Davis (2000) nine-category typology is reflective of Gappa and Leslie’s categories and includes postgraduate students, contract researchers and/or teachers, specialist teachers such as the industry expert, and early retirees. Former graduates who are seeking academic careers are included in ‘postgraduate students’. The typology put forward by Gappa and Leslie in 1993 does not seem to reflect the situation in the 38 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W 2000s.The description of their categories suggests that the people in their sample freely chose their mode of employment. In the contemporary Australian context the degree of choice experienced by casual staff in selecting their mode of employment is questioned (Kimber, 2003; Pocock, 2003). Some take on casual work because of its part-time nature and opportunity for flexibility while bemoaning its insecurity; others accept casual work as a matter of survival (Kimber, 2003). For many, their casual academic position is their only source of income. Others still hold several part-time casual jobs in order to earn enough to survive, often at more than one university. This creates a somewhat different picture from Gappa and Leslie’s freelancer who they claimed prefers to be employed in a variety of casual part-time jobs. A large number of casual teaching staff, according to Junor’s (2004, p. 279) research, hold between two and five part-time and casual jobs, none of which was a primary job. These realities undermine the argument that casual employees gain flexibility and work/life balance and that casual work is their preference. The experiences discussed in this paper came from a larger study in a regional Australian university, which explored the reasons people take on casual work in the university, the extent to which this type of employment is a choice and the extent to which it provides job and income security and work/life balance. We expected that many teachers in particular, but also general staff in casual positions, would indicate a preference for more secure part-time work or for full-time work.The experiences of those casual staff whose preference was for a secure career in the higher education sector is the subject of this paper. The findings from this sample are compared against the categories identified by Gappa and Leslie and explore the relevance of those categories in the current Australian higher education context. This paper proposes that the Aspiring Academic, that is those seeking a career, is no longer a minority among part-time casual workers in the higher education sector. Literature Australia has seen a change in the profile of casual employees. There is a trend away from the traditional idea of young women with care responsibilities and students, as stated in the AGPC (2006), to people engaged in work that is on-going in nature and where employers employ people on a casual basis, for jobs The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W of flexibility for employers and not infrequently poor that would have previously been permanent. Buchanan flexibility for employees. (2004, p. 11) attributes this trend to gaps in labour laws In a study on the impact of WorkChoices on low that have enabled employers to create jobs with ‘lower paid female employees, Pocock (2008) found that levels of employer obligation’. The recent changes in instead of greater flexibility, the participants in her the profile of casual employees in the wider context study suffered loss of control and conflict over their has happened during a time of a reduction of rights working time, and Hosking and Western (2008) in for the group that Buchanan (2004, p. 7) refers to as their recent study on non-standard employment on ‘permanent casuals’ especially with regard to unfair work/family conflict found that casual employment dismissal laws. Junor (2004, p.277) too has argued that did not reduce such conflict. casualisation of university staff is a result of political regulation more so than Preferences: hours and market freedom, a point Casual employment is said to provide modes of employment subsequently proven to be greater flexibility, work/life balance and Casual employment is true with the introduction choice... Some would argue though that the often presented as a perof the HEWRRs. advantages are greater for employers than sonal preference or choice Why casual employemployees... and for certain groups, it ment: the rhetoric & often is their choice. Howreality ever, the rhetoric of choice is problematic. It is more likely that the choice is for One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of flexibility but that casual work is the only work availcausal employment practices proposed by Burgess et able that provides the flexibility they need (Kimber, al. (2008, p. 172) is that the rhetoric of casualisation 2003; Kryger cited in AGPC, 2006; Buchanan, 2004). has ‘been caught up in the ideology of choice, indiJunor (2004, p. 284) is critical of survey-based studvidualism and labour market flexibility’, especially as ies that infer preferences for casual employment by it provides some flexibility, if not security or career, for asking respondents questions about their reasons for some casual workers. Students and people with care working as a casual employee. She asked instead for responsibilities, usually women are examples of this participants’ ‘first preference’ if they had a choice of latter group. Chalmers and Waddoups (2007, p. 4) note different modes of employment. She found that only 28 that these sizable cohorts are in casual employment per cent of academic staff and 40 per cent of general for ‘transitory reasons’ such as family responsibilities or staff chose casual employment as their first preference education, but do not seek to be in casual employment and that most sought long–term careers in a univerpermanently. sity or other education field while only 9 per cent preArguments that are put forward in support of a ferred to stay in casual positions for the longer term. deregulated labour market and for casualisation, is The desire of casual academic staff for an on-going acathat casual employment benefits employees as well demic career in tertiary education was a strong finding as employers. Casual employment is said to provide in Junor’s study (2004). Indeed their desire for an ongreater flexibility, work/life balance and choice for going university career was as strong in casual staff as both. Some would argue though that the advantages it was in non-casual/on-going academic staff. are greater for employers than employees (Campbell, Buchanan (2004) pointed out that many casual 2001; Forward, 2007; Pocock, 2008).The drivers behind employees wanted more hours of work, 43.2 per cent the increasing use of non-standard employment pracaccording to statistics from the Australian Bureau of tices, in particular casualisation, are more likely to be Statistics. However, Wooden, Warren and Drago (2009) industry demand for flexibility and reduced labour argue that it is not the number of hours of employcosts (Forward, 2007; Brown, Goodman & Yasukawa, ment per se that is at issue, but whether this is con2008). Campbell (2001, p. 81) cites the advantages to sistent with the employee’s preferences. They refer to employers to be cheaper labour costs, convenience, this as ‘working time mismatch’ (2009, p. 149). They control and ease of dismissal, as was also noted by conclude that ‘overwork’, that is, working longer hours Buchanan (2004). Pocock, Skinner and Ichii (2009) than preferred, is equally problematic as not having refer to employer-centred versus employee-centred enough hours and maintain that the offer of flexible flexibility. Casual employment provides a great deal vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 39 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V work arrangements by employers is a way to reduce the degree of mismatch. Pocock, et al. (2009) also found a mismatch in preferred hours and actual hours with many wishing to reduce their hours, although it was part-timers in her research who were more likely to want to increase their hours. A common belief is that casual work is a pathway to a career in higher education. The initial reasons for taking on casual teaching work given by participants in a study by Wright, Williamson, Schauber and Stockfeld (2003) were twofold: a combination of economic reasons, and because they enjoyed the work they were engaged in. Furthermore, they felt it would be useful for career development and hoped that the experience gained in casual jobs would help them gain more permanent employment in the tertiary sector. None of them saw casual teaching as a career in itself. However, Kryger (cited in AGPC, 2006) argues that a strategy of gaining casual work in order to progress into a permanent career is not necessarily successful and that most casual employment is largely involuntary and motivated by scarcity of desired employment, a point that supports Junor’s (2004) assertion. Transitioning to career Buddelmeyer and Wooden (2007) hold a more positive view of casual employment. Contrary to Junor (2004) and Pocock, et al. (2009), they suggest casual jobs might be useful for entry or re-entry into the workforce or might be useful in obtaining more secure employment. Buddelmeyer and Wooden (2007) maintain that for some people casual work seems to be a successful means of transitioning from unemployment to employment and part-time employment to fulltime employment. They found that women in casual employment had a 23.1 per cent chance of gaining an on-going position and that men were even more likely to transition to an on-going position (36.8 per cent). While this is true for some people, for others casual work becomes a ‘trap’ (AGPC, 2006, p. 95). Such employment leads to a person being seen as a ‘casual worker’ rather than a person engaged in casual work and thus a less attractive permanent worker. Casual employment also disadvantages workers by marginalising them from the mainstream. Most casual academics are caught in a cycle of short-term contracts with on-going feelings of insecurity and the frustration and anxiety of not being able to plan for their future. They find the lack of security and the uncertainty of shortterm contracts demoralising (Gottschalk, 1998, p. 215). 40 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The AGPC (2006) report found the greatest transition success rate was for those who have a preference for working full-time hours, however noted that those who prefer part-time hours may have little choice other than to engage in casual employment. Chalmers and Waddoup (2007) who asked whether casual employment is a ‘bridge’ to on-going employment or a ‘trap’, were unable to answer this question definitively but concluded that the ability to move from casual to more permanent work declines the longer a person is in casual employment.This was especially so for young women who were primary carers of children. In the higher education sector, according to Junor (2004), when an academic works on a casual basis for a longer period, it becomes an incentive for the university to keep them in casual positions. To the university an experienced casual staff member is highly valuable and cost-effective because it is cheaper to employ an experienced casual worker than inexperienced staff who may need training and who are less productive due to their lack of experience. For those in casual work in the higher education sector the opportunity to transition to more secure academic careers seems problematic. Despite being experienced teachers academic staff are normally expected to hold doctorates. However, professional development for casual staff that might enhance their opportunity to articulate into careers is limited (Rice, 2004) and they are usually expected to undertake scholarship in their own time (Brown, Goodman and Yasukawa, 2006). Their situation is exacerbated by the fact that casual teachers work largely in isolation and are not able to interact with permanent staff and benefit from networking with them. Their working conditions are such that they are also often out of the communication loop. Indeed, staff employed in casual positions have made representation to the NTEU about their conditions of employment and lack of career opportunities. Representing casual staff poses some difficulty for the NTEU because most members are on-going staff. Nevertheless, in the 2008 round of enterprise bargaining the NTEU adopted a major campaign to improve conditions for casual staff (Gibson, 2008) and in one university successfully negotiated a career path for qualified casual academic staff. An examination of the relationship between casual employment and career opportunities in higher education is timely, especially by focussing on career options and experiences of aspiring academics, who Gappa and Leslie (1993) claim to be in the minority. The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V Conceptual framework The above literature highlights three core aspects of the casual academic experience in Australia: motivations to work as a casual academic, preferred modes of employment and conditions of employment. These three elements converge to produce the work situation of the casual academic, represented in Figure 1. As noted by Kimber (2003) and Bryson and Scurry (2002), there are distinct variations in the motivations of casual academic staff which influence the ways in which they organise their preferences for employment in higher education. These then are also moderated by the availability of particular employment options within the institution (or institutions) in which they are working. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The Australian and USA research suggests that the categorisations themselves are informative for providing broad generalisations of particular forms of attachment to the academic labour market among casuals, but do not always reflect the dynamic nature of that relationship, and the attempts by individuals to improve their position and opportunities. This tendency for shifting between situations and overlap of positions is important to this research which seeks to examine and understand the patterns of employment and motivation among Australian casual higher education staff, and also the frustration that they experience in trying to maximise their career opportunities. To capture the complexities of the casual worker’s experiences a mixed methodology was adopted for this research. Methodology Employment preferences Career motivation The Casual Academic Experience Employment conditions Figure 1: Influences on the casual academic experience The methods of identifying employee preferences used in this research draw on studies in Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom, which have developed a categorisation or typology of casual and temporary academic staff in higher education. In Australia, Kimber (2003) articulates and critiques the various managerial explanations for the growth of casualisation in Australian universities, along with elements of the Gappa and Leslie typology of industry expert, freelancer, aspiring academic and career ender. Kimber finds evidence of the four Gappa and Leslie types, but with a tendency for there to be overlap between types where the individual has multiple positions across institutions. Similarly, Husbands and Davis (2000) in their eight category typology noted regular overlap where individuals move between positions to improve their labour market opportunities. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Survey research was used to explore the broad categorisations of the casual academic labour force in a regional Australian university, for the larger study from which the data for this paper was taken.The questionnaire was based on the idea of choice, flexibility and work/life balance, which was the rhetoric around the introduction of legislative changes introduced by the previous government to deregulate the workplace and employment practices. To determine respondents’ reasons for taking on casual employment, we drew on the literature about casual employment, anecdotal comments about the link between casual employment and care responsibilities, and political rhetoric. The questionnaire sought to identify the experiences of casual staff on a number of variables and so provided a broad overview across these variables rather than in-depth information on a few. The main categories in the questionnaire were: • demographic data • information about current employment status • income and job security • reasons for working as a casual employee • general attitudes about work and work/life balance. We wanted respondents to elaborate on their responses in order to gain greater depth of information, therefore the respondents also had the opportunity to include qualitative commentary in the questionnaires. Open-ended responses were sought in each of the categories. Analysis of these responses revealed that teaching staff in particular spoke of their desire for a university career. In-depth interviews The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 41 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W questionnaire were transcribed and organised accordwere therefore sought with a small number of teaching to the questionnaire’s pre-determined themes. The ing staff. interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim As a second source of data, in-depth interviews were and a thematic analysis of the interviews was conused to clarify, validate and extend the information ducted according to pre-existing themes. in the questionnaires from the perspective of casual teaching staff in both higher education and TAFE The sample divisions. In-depth interviews are used as a research Staff employed as casuals during 2006, including teachmethod when the researcher is attempting to gain an ing, academic and general staff occupation categories understanding of the respondents’ own perspective constituted the population for this study. The human of their lived experiences and how they give meaning resources office provided the names and contact to those experiences (Reinharz, 1992; Saunders, Lewis details of all casual staff for the year 2006 and invitaand Thornhill, 2007). tions to participate and a copy of the questionnaire From the questionnaire responses, themes to be were posted in reply paid envelopes. Email addresses explored in the interviews were identified and highlighted. The main themes that emerged from the questionnaire data and explored in greater Table 1: Demographic characteristics depth in the interviews were: Count Col % • reasons for working as a casual teacher Age (category) 18 - 29 38 19.4 • advantages and disadvantages of casual employment 30 - 39 36 18.4 • preference of employment mode and 40 - 49 40 20.4 career aspirations 50 - 59 30 15.3 • the employment relationship, inclusion and 60 or greater 20 10.2 collegiality, and No response 32 16.3 • the social implications of being in casual Sex of female 129 66.2 work. respondent Responses from each of the above themes male 66 33.8 is drawn upon in this paper as they all elicited comments from interviewees that demonstrated clearly the desire for more secure employment and the opportunity to pursue an academic career. Current relationship status Ethical considerations Approval for this research was gained from the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. Assurances of confidentiality and anonymity were given to respondents. Where respondents have been quoted, minor changes may have been made, to avoid the possibility of identification. Pseudonyms have been used where interviewees are quoted. Analysis of data We used cluster analysis to identify particular ‘types’ of casual employees present within the sample, particularly to determine whether the casual employee types identified in work by Gappa and Leslie (1993) were present at this institution.The qualitative comments from the 42 Age of youngest dependants Highest education level living with partner and dependants 77 39.7 living with partner and no dependants 58 29.9 not living with partner but with dependant 12 6.2 single living alone 24 12.4 other 23 11.9 No dependants 103 52.6 Under 6 28 14.3 6-12 27 13.8 13-18 22 11.2 Greater than 18 12 6.1 Adult 4 2.0 TAFE certificate or diploma 38 19.9 Bachelor degree 41 21.5 PhD or Professional doctorate 13 6.8 Masters Degree 29 15.2 Graduate certification/diploma 36 18.8 currently studying 26 13.6 other 8 4.2 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W We used a cluster analysis as a tool to understand the characteristics of people who take on casual work and the different factors that motivate them, including the importance of a career or more permanent work to them. were not used because it was recognised that many casual staff hold other work and might not access their university email accounts. Approximately 600 questionnaires were posted, but many were returned marked ‘return to sender’ as human resources records were found to be out of date. It is not known how many questionnaires were received by potential participants. Overall, 196 completed questionnaires were returned. Eight women and seven men volunteered to be interviewed after a follow-up email was sent inviting participation by teaching staff who had completed the questionnaire. More volunteered over time, but they were not able to be interviewed due to time constraints. Three female interviewees were from the TAFE division; all other interviewees were from higher education. It was not possible to compare the representativeness of the study sample against the total casual pool. The University’s casual staff records were found to be inaccurate in that the list included people no longer employed by the University and even a small number who were on-going employees. Table 1 depicts the demographic characteristics of the questionnaire respondents. The total number of responses was 196 (66 men and 129 women). One respondent did not indicate their sex.The age distribution of casual employees is evenly spread between the ages of 18 and 59 with the peak occurring in the 40 to 49-year-old bracket. Forty-six per cent had dependants, 73 per cent of these being women. The demographic variables of age and sex in particular, determined the employment needs and preferences of the respondents which is reflected in the discussion below. To characterise the clusters it was necessary to look at the distribution of demographic characteristics and motivations within each cluster. Below is a summary of the clusters differentiated in terms of demographic characteristics. Findings and discussion Cluster 1: Young mothers: Career maintainers People have many reasons for taking on casual work. In this study, the desire to build a career was one important motivator for women and men, with and without dependants. Many saw casual work either as a means of gaining experience and transitioning into a full-time career with the University, or staying in touch with the workforce whilst taking time out for care responsibilities. The desire for a career with the University was mentioned frequently by the interviewees, and commented upon in the questionnaire. Frustration with the lack of opportunity to gain more secure work and to build a career was very evident. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Characterising casual staff A series of questions was analysed on different forms of motivation among casual employees, to determine whether the types of casual employees could be distinguished by their motivations to work as a casual employee, age or sex. The cluster analysis identified four distinct groups of staff according to their motivations. The distribution of respondents across these clusters presented in Table 2 is described further below. Table 2: Distribution of respondents by cluster Cluster N % of % of Total Combined 1. Young mothers: Career maintainers 32 16.6 16.3 2. Career developers 63 32.6 32.1 3. Early careerists 47 24.4 24.0 4. Late career transitioners 51 26.4 26.0 Combined 193 100.0 98.5 Excluded Cases 3 1.5 Total 196 100.0 This cluster comprises young women, aged 30 – 39, with pre-school children. Their primary motivation for taking casual employment is flexibility in order to meet childcare needs. Whilst members of this group preferred shorter working hours to be with their young family many nevertheless are career conscious and work to stay in touch, hoping to resume careers as their children grow older. Cluster 2: Career developers Members of cluster two are primarily parents (male and female), aged 40 to 49, with school-age children. They demonstrate a focus on career development The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 43 A U S T R A L I A N rather than family obligations. They are distinguishable from the Young Mothers/Career maintainers group in that they are no longer motivated by work/life balance needs, nor is casual work a preference. They are career oriented and their motivation instead is career development. Cluster 3: Early careerists Members of cluster three, the early careerists, are young postgraduate and trainee staff (female and male), aged 18 to 29, who have traditionally made up a large part of the casual university workforce. They have few or no family responsibilities.They are primarily engaging in casual work to gain experience and career development, potentially to move into permanent employment with the university or other industry. Cluster 4: Late career transitioners U N I V E R S I T I E S â€™ R E V I E W Table 3: Motivations for casual employment by sex Motivation to work casually Sex of respondent female male Per cent Per cent Total Per cent Count additional income 49.2 50.0 49.5 96 flexibility 54.7 30.3 46.4 90 gain experience 44.5 33.3 40.7 79 useful for career development 42.2 34.8 39.7 77 deliberate career strategy 32.0 22.7 28.9 56 prefer casual work 23.4 30.3 25.8 50 higher hourly rates 30.5 16.7 25.8 50 work/life balance 30.5 16.7 25.8 50 only work I could get 21.9 24.2 22.7 44 prefer full-time but can only get 23.4 casual part-time 18.2 21.6 42 doing post-grad study 25.8 12.1 21.1 41 prefer to be with young family 25.0 9.1 19.6 38 less stressful 15.6 7.6 12.9 25 cannot find full-time work 7.0 16.7 10.3 20 until full-time with University 5.5 13.6 8.2 16 young children need parent at 10.2 4.5 8.2 16 Members of cluster four are aged home between 50 and 69 with no dependinterim until full-time 6.3 10.6 7.7 15 ants. Nineteen of them are female own business but extra income 3.9 10.6 6.2 12 and 32 are male. They demonstrate to test suitability of this job 5.5 6.1 5.7 11 little interest in future career opporother 12.5 24.2 16.5 32 tunities and are motivated only to Note: the italicised items are those that are related to career and full time work. maintain income and interest into retirement. The clusters of employees in this with the University. In the questionnaire, we asked sample are similar to, but distinct from, those types respondents to identify the various reasons why they identified by Gappa and Leslie (1993) and Husbands engaged in casual employment.The values in this quesand Davis (2000). It can be seen that of the four clustion focussed on employment related issues, work/life ter groups identified, two are motivated to develop balance and care responsibilities. The distribution of careers, and one group is career conscious and hopes these reasons is included in table 3 below. to resume full-time careers after their care responsiTable 3 shows the variety and complexity of motivabilities ease. It is only the last group, the Late Career tors to work as a casual staff member. A major reason Transitioners, who are not interested in career develgiven by both men (50 per cent) and women (49.4 per opment. Furthermore each group, except the Late cent) for working in casual jobs is to provide additional Career Transitioners, showed a preference for secure income, an unsurprising finding. Even though respondemployment. ents were asked to tick as many motivators as apply Career orientations among casual staff for them,â€˜carerâ€™ items, (such as a preference to be with a young family) had a relatively low response from The desire to build a career was seen to be an imporwomen (25 per cent). This was surprising given that tant motivator for women and men, with and without the common rhetoric by employer groups for offering dependants, who saw casual work as a means of gaincasual work is that it is desired by carers, mainly mothing experience and transitioning into a full-time career 44 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W women (42.2 per cent) than men (34.8 per cent) were ers with young children (Buchanan, 2004). Flexibility using casual work for career development and 32 per on the other hand was rated highly for both women cent of women saw it as a deliberate career strategy (54.7 per cent) and men (30.3 per cent). It may be compared to 22.7 per cent of men. This is consistent that flexibility for women included opportunities to with the results of the cluster analysis, which indicated combine caring and employment which was supthat the ‘young mothers’ cluster was interested in ported by some qualitative comments from the quesdeveloping a career even though they are carers. tionnaire and the interviews. Buchanan (2004) points The flexibility they sought however was often out that many casual workers took on casual employthwarted by employers’ inflexibility of hours. Furtherment because it is the only way that they can combine more, the desire to pursue a career eventually did not paid work with other responsibilities such as care or necessarily eventuate. Chalmers and Waddoup (2007) study. This premise was confirmed in this study, both found that young women who were primary carers in the interviews and in the qualitative comments in had difficulty transitioning from casual to permanent the questionnaire. That flexibility then was found to work, as did Buddelmeyer and Wooden (2007) who be more important for women is not surprising given found that women had only a 23 per cent chance of women’s dual roles of caring in the private sphere as transitioning to full-time employment compared to well as paid work in the public sphere. As one woman men at 36.8 per cent. This said,‘The flexibility to work was also the experience partly from home suits my Casual work and the flexibility it provides of women in this sample needs with a young family’ was seen as a desirable option for parents, one of whom had done six and ‘I can work for the proespecially women, because it allowed them years of casual work, conportion of time I want to in to retain and develop work skills which firming that casual employthe week.’ they felt would facilitate their re-entry into ment can become a trap as However, the desire for well as a means of transiflexibility, even for women a future career. tioning to a career. with care responsibilities, This research asked did not mean they were not respondents for their first preference of mode of interested in a career. Casual work and the flexibility employment if they had a free choice, as recomit provides was seen as a desirable option for parents, mended by Junor (2004). We found that 30 per cent especially women, because it allowed them to retain indicated that they were satisfied with their current and develop work skills which they felt would facilimode of employment whereas 45 per cent indicated tate their re-entry into a future career. As one female a preference for permanent part-time work with secuquestionnaire respondent wrote: rity and career options and 19 per cent preferred Assists the balance by ‘keeping a foot in the door’ full-time ongoing work. A gender breakdown of these for future return to the workforce but enables the family unit (all dependants) to operate with minifigures showed that 74 per cent of women and 45 mal stress and outgoing childcare costs. per cent of men wanted some form of on-going work. These figures are consistent with the Junor’s findings Another woman commented, ‘With a young family (2004) where only 28 per cent of academic staff preand a ‘busy’ ‘out of town for work’ husband. This uniferred casual work. versity work offers flexibility but enables me to continue gaining experience.’ It was important also for this Seeking opportunities for a career woman to work so that she could remain in the paid Those who saw their casual work as a career strategy workforce and eventually pursue a career, rather than commonly viewed casual teaching as a way of keeping take a longer and complete break from paid work. in touch with the workforce or as a type of apprenResponses related to career were additional strong ticeship that would help them to get on-going work motivations for both women and men. It is interesting eventually. Disillusionment resulted when their expecalso to note that although a major reason for women tations of transitioning into more permanent and is flexibility, the career factor was actually stronger secure employment were not met. Qualitative comfor them than it was for men. Responses for the ‘to ments from the women and men who answered the gain experience item’ in the questionnaire were 44.5 questionnaire revealed this dissatisfaction, as casual per cent for women and 33.3 per cent for men. More vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 45 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V staff came to believe that the University’s use of casual employment was purely functional, and did not lead to full-time or more secure careers for individual casual staff. (Female) I see sessional work as a means to an end but I will leave the organisation if there is no defined place for me here. (Male) For ten years I have worked in many capacities across (the University), gained many qualifications and skills along the way but have not ‘cracked’ into permanent work. I used to labour under the theory that if you say ‘yes’ to anything and everything in the way of casual work, and had appropriate qualifications and skills, eventually you would be rewarded. I feel naive and duped. (Female) This was originally a deliberate career strategy however now after 6-7 years as a casual I have huge doubts that a permanent position will ever be available to me. (Male) The amount of ‘career’ support is almost non-existent. Even though as a casual it is well known by my department heads that I need more work, I occasionally find out about opportunities too late because I am not there enough and therefore isolated. The casual teaching staff who had been interviewed, experienced similar frustration. For example, Kelly, a casual teacher in higher education (HE) said, Kelly (HE): The culture was that I was given subliminal messages like ‘people did casual for 6 years before they got on a contract’. I could afford to do it for 18 months because I had some savings but even last year I dipped into my savings but now I have no savings left. Two interviewees, Shannnon and Barney felt that the insecurity of their employment conditions was clearly not because of uncertainty about whether their contribution would be needed on an on-going basis as both were employed year after year to teach the same courses. Shannon (HE): I see other casual staff, especially a friend of mine has been here for years and always teaches the same subjects. I thought jobs like that were supposed to become permanent. We don’t belong we are cheap labour. Barney (HE): There was work every single year and it reached a point where at one point in time, to be able to get more work, they capped the amount of hours you were able to do to ten, I think at the time, so the way round it was to set up your own 46 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W business and outsource yourself. So I was on two or three casual contracts at a time. Those contracts enabled me to go into as much casual work at (the University) as I wanted. And it was ongoing, it was the same work, the same teaching the same units year after year after year. It was full-time because I was also working in other areas. Barney’s story confirms Pocock’s (2003) point that many casual jobs are predictable and could become permanent full-time work, or on-going work. These findings also show that the idea that casual employees are used mainly to cover peak or unpredictable demand (Campbell, 2004) is a spurious one in the contemporary higher education context. Previous studies have shown that casual employees value the flexibility of having reduced hours which enables them to combine work with other activities, such as studying or caring, but it is the flexibility of reduced hours that is valued and not the casual nature of the mode of employment. Furthermore, reliance on casual work for an income usually drew complaints of poor income and job security. The comments below from the questionnaire show the strong desire for the job security that is provided by either full-time or parttime employment. (Female) Extremely dissatisfied with future job security and income security – particularly concerned that I will never be offered a permanent position at this University after 6-7 years as casual at between 9-12 hours per week. (Female) I want to work and I want more work but I’m unable to and feel restricted, manipulated and not in control of my work life at all. (Male) [The University] should offer a permanent part-time or full-time agreement so employees can plan their own lives with some confidence. (Female) [There needs to be] a clearer path to permanent work with the University. More easily assessable access to permanent full-time employment for suitably qualified staff. One rather disgruntled male respondent wrote, How about some help with how to enter ‘the club’. I’m sick of the dregs (low hours) and ‘getting fired’ just because holidays and breaks occur. Many respondents found that their income from the University was insufficient to meet their financial needs (82 per cent of women and 91 per cent of men) and had sources of income other than their casual university employment (30.6 per cent). The The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W ence they were gaining to help them to enter an acaqualitative comments and interviews revealed that demic career eventually. often these jobs were other casual jobs as was also found by Pocock (2003), Junor (2004) and reported by Fazza (TAFE): I do have career in mind beyond AGPC (2006). Many felt insecure about their employwhat I am doing now. Yes, yep definitely, the work I am doing now will help me achieve those goals. ment future at the University and about their future Great grounding and expeincome. The exceptions to rience. At the present, I’m these trends were mothhappy with the hours and ...casual employees value the flexibility of ers of young children, and the situation where I am having reduced hours which enables them men late in their career. at the present. I love the to combine work with other activities, The young mothers/career work and the flexibilities such as studying or caring, but it is the are the main priority, but maintainers either had say in two years time when flexibility of reduced hours that is valued access to other income or the girls are at school, were the secondary income and not the casual nature of the mode of when that will become earner in their households, employment. more important. thus reducing the level of Kelly (HE): I saw it as a dependency on the income step in the door and I guess I just worked hard but from the University. Nevertheless, despite being finankept low profile but strategically it was a foot in the cially secure, they were still career minded. door. I was also studying and I could ask my timeMany of the qualitative comments in the questiontable to fit around my study timetable. The career naire seemed to refer to casual teaching. Analysis of advantages: it has given me the chance to become known and make me more competitive for a lecturthese responses revealed that the experience of casual ing position. I want job security and a career. employment is very different for general staff and teaching staff and that while a desire for more secure and on-going employment was an issue for respondents in all occupational categories, teaching staff in particular spoke of unsuccessful efforts to transition into a more permanent and secure career with the University. For this reason the uniqueness of the casual higher education and TAFE teaching experience was explored further in the interviews of casual teaching staff. Casual teaching as a career strategy Casual teaching is distinct from other casual work for a number of reasons, the major factors being the periodic nature of university teaching semesters and the long summer break. Casual teachers in higher education essentially get work for only 24 to 26 weeks of the year. In TAFE, casual teachers are also employed on a casual basis, however for a longer period, usually for four ten week periods of the year. The majority of the casual teachers interviewed have career aspirations and saw their casual work as a ‘stepping stone’ into an academic career. This includes the women currently engaged in care work, consistent with the findings of the cluster analysis. They too saw their casual work as a way of staying engaged in the workforce with the intention of eventually making a career.The following comments are from interviewees who were expecting their casual work and the experivol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Lily (HE): I’ve been here for about four years now doing casual work and in that time I’ve done a couple of research projects for the School of (name). So it’s allowed me to do a teaching load and explore other avenues and get my research profile up in a variety of ways. Yeah I think it’s important to have that visibility that you’re seen as participating. You just have to know where to look. I think that’s the way to go, absolutely. And you talk to the right people at the right time and you get on various committees, which I haven’t done any of that. I don’t have time, I barely have time to work, you know with my teaching at two universities and my studies. The interviewees strongly reinforced the opinion expressed by questionnaire respondents for a desire for either full-time work (16 per cent) or permanent part-time employment (45 per cent) and a desire in their current situation, which includes being a fulltime carer, to build a career some time in the future. Overall, there was a sense of disillusionment as most are eventually disappointed. Longer-term casual staff found that they remained casual. Discussion The profile of the casual employee in this University sample does not match the AGPC profile of people who are under 25 and women with care responsibilities working in unskilled occupations. Furthermore, The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 47 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Young Mothers: Career Maintainers group, the Early one of the major findings from this research was that Careerists as well as in the Career Developers. the traditional categories identified by Gappa and A major finding was the plight of the Young Mothers: Leslie (1993) do not apply in this sample and may no Career Maintainers and mothers with school age chillonger apply to the higher education sector in Ausdren who are present in the Career Developers cluster. tralia. In our sample Gappa and Leslie’s Aspiring AcaFigures from ABS (2006) and research by Whitehouse, demic and the Career Enders were present but the Baird, Diamond, and Hosking (2006) shows that close Industry Expert was not represented. Furthermore, to 20 per cent women with young babies quit their job the Freelancer was not present in the way that Gappa when they have a baby, rather than take parental leave. and Leslie described this group, that is, as a person A number of the women who quit their jobs eventuwhose preference is multiple part-time jobs.Their proally return to paid employment and 39 per cent of file did not include higher education workers’ who those women return to part time jobs. They return for desired a career and used casual, mostly part-time financial reasons however a second, if not primary purwork as a career strategy. pose, might be that these women strategically target or In our sample, there was a group of casual staff who, choose the type of casual jobs they take on in order to like the Freelancer, were employed in a variety of partenhance future career potential. This seems to be the time casual jobs, however, this mode of employment case for women in our Young Mothers: Career Mainwas not their preference.The group we named Career tainers category. Developers, generally aspired to secure part-time or Our sample of young full-time work and were mothers was particularly motivated by the opportuIn practice, however, the desire for a vocal about their interest nity to develop a career in career was often frustrated and overall in a career and their use higher education. They held there was a sense of disillusionment as of casual work as a delibermultiple jobs not because it staff realised that the University’s use of ate career strategy. Parents was their preference to do casual/staff was largely functional and that in this sample, especially so but because they needed women, reported casual multiple jobs to earn transitioning to full-time work, job security work and flexibility enough to survive. Kimber and a ‘proper’ career was for many an because it enabled them to (2003) and Junor (2004) impossible dream. retain and develop knowlhad previously exposed edge and skills to facilitate this need for multiple jobs. re-entry into a career when their care responsibiliKimber (2003) recognised that those in precarious ties eased, usually when children reached school age. employment such as casual teaching, including women They made this desire clear in the motivations they with care responsibilities, usually show a preference nominated in the questionnaire (see table 3), in the for more secure employment. They find themselves in qualitative comments in the questionnaire and in the casual employment because it is often the only partinterviews. Furthermore, the cluster analysis found time work available and often held several part-time that women with young children were present in two casual jobs. A large number of casual teaching staff in of the clusters that were characterised by a desire for Junor’s study held between two and five part-time and a career. casual jobs, none of which, according to Junor was a In practice, however, the desire for a career was primary job (2004). often frustrated and overall there was a sense of disilOne of the objectives for this paper was to explore lusionment as staff realised that the University’s use the extent to which casual work was used as a deliberof casual/staff was largely functional and that transiate career strategy. The motivation for both teaching tioning to full-time work, job security and a ‘proper’ and non-teaching staff to work as a casual employee career was for many an impossible dream. A thwarted centred on the desire for flexibility and career aspiracareer had become a reality for many Career Develtions. Career related reasons such as a desire to gain opers. Whilst the Young Mothers: Career Maintainers experience and develop careers rated highly in the were generally optimistic about resuming careers in questionnaire responses and many saw casual work the future and generally convinced that their casual as a deliberate career strategy. Our cluster analysis work would benefit them, many Career Developers showed that this was the case for casual staff in the 48 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V had become disillusioned after years of casual work with no prospects of more permanent careers in sight. Indeed, Chalmers and Waddoup (2007) found that young women with care responsibilities were the least likely to be able to make the transition from casual work to full-time work. The irony is that the currently optimistic young mothers are likely to move into the Career Developers category when their children reach school age. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W References Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2006, Pregnancy and employment transitions, Australia Cat. No. 4913.0 Canberra. Australian Government Productivity Commission (AGPC) 2006, The Role of Non-Traditional Work in the Australian Labour Market, May. Brown, T, Goodman, J & Yasukawa, K 2006, Getting the best of you for nothing: Casual voices in the Australian academy, National Tertiary Education Union. Brown, T, Goodman, J & Yasukawa, K 2008, ‘Casualisation of academic work: industrial justice and quality education’, Dialogue, vol. 27 no.1, pp.17-29. Bryson, C & Scurry, T 2002, ‘Marginalisation and the self: the case of temporary and scattered ‘careers’ in higher education’, EGOS, the 18th Annual EGOS, Colloquium, Barcelona, pp. 1-34. (cited with permission of authors). Conclusion We proposed in this paper that for many, casual employment was a mode of employment that was used as a career strategy that was ultimately unsuccessful. Our findings confirmed those expectations. Our expectations that casual staff in higher education generally preferred more secure part-time or fulltime work was confirmed. We found that a significant group of people desired on-going work in higher education and thought that casual work would enable them to articulate into academic careers or other more permanent work in the University. The desire for a career was strong among this sample of university general and teaching staff.The groupings identified by the cluster analysis revealed that three of the four groups identified in this study had a focus on career development. Those transitioning to retirement or already retired were the only exceptions. The realities of the labour market where employers use casual employment as a cost-saving measure undermine the argument that casual employees gain flexibility and work/life balance and suggest that they are jobs rather than careers. A major outcome for people in long term casual employment is frustrated careers. Dr Lorene Gottschalk is a senior lecturer in the School of Business at the University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Dr Steve McEarchern has recently moved from the University of Ballarat to the Australian National University, Canberra, ACT. Buchanan, J 2004, ‘Paradoxes of significance: Australian casualisation and labour productivity’, ACCIRT Working Paper 93, ACTU, RMIT, and The Age conference ‘Work interrupted: casual and insecure employment in Australia’, Hotel Sofitel, Melbourne. Buddelmeyer, H & Wooden, M 2007, ‘Transitions from casual employment in Australia’, Melbourne Institute Working Paper No ?/07. Melbourne Institute of applied Economic and Social Research, the University of Melbourne, pp. 1-28. Burgess, J, Campbell, I & May, R 2008, ‘Pathways from casual employment to economic security: the Australian experience’, Social Indicators Research, Aug 2008, vol. 88, issue 1, pp. 161-178. Campbell, I 2001, ‘Casual employees and the training deficit: Exploring Employer calculations and choice’, International Journal of Employment Studies, vol.9, no.1, pp. 61-101. Campbell, I 2004, ‘Casual work and casualisation: How does Australia compare?’ Conference Report Work Interrupted: Casual and Insecure Employment in Australia, Melbourne, August, pp.1-33. Chalmers, J & Waddoups, J 2007, ‘Is Casual Employment a “Bridge” or a “Trap”?’ HILDA Survey Research Conference (19-20 July 2007), The University of Melbourne. Accessed on 2 January 2010 at <http://www.melbourneinstitute. com/hilda/conf/conf2007/HILDA%20Conf%20Papers%202007/All%20Papers/ Waddoups,%20Jeff_final%20paper.pdf> Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST ) 2006, Selected Higher Education Statistics—Staff 2005. Accessed on 2 January 2010 at <http://www. dest.gov.au/sectors/higher_education/publications_resources/statistics/publications_higher_education_statistics_collections.htm#staffpubs> Forward, P 2007, ‘The hidden cost of casual employment in TAFE’, Australian TAFE Teacher, vol.41, no.1, pp.16-17. Gappa, J & Leslie, D 1993, The invisible faculty: Improving the status of parttimers in Higher Education, San Francisco:Jossey-Bass. Gibson, P 2008, ‘Casuals Campaign at UTS’, Advocate (Journal of the National Tertiary Education Union), vol. 15, no. 1, April, p. 34. Gottschalk, L 1998, ‘Ladies Who Lunch: The Gendered Nature of Work’, Winds of Change: Women and the Culture of Universities, (Peer reviewed Conference Proceedings), Sydney: University of Technology. Hosking, A & Western, M 2008, ‘The effects of non-standard employment on work-family conflict’, Journal of Sociology, vol. 44, no.1, pp. 5-27. Husbands, CT & Davis, A 2000, ‘The teaching roles, institutional locations, and terms and conditions of employment of part-time teachers in UK Higher Education’, Journal of Further and Higher Education, vol. 24, no. 3, pp.337-361. Junor, A 2004, ‘Casual university work: choice, risk and equity and the case for regulation’, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, vol. 14 (2), pp. 276-304. Kimber, M 2003, ‘The tenured “Core” and the Tenuous “Periphery”: the Casualisation of Academic Work in Australian Universities’, Journal of Higher vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern 49 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Education Policy and Management, vol. 25, no. 1, May, pp. 41-50. Pocock, B 2003, The work-life collision: what work is doing to Australians and what to do about it. Annandale: Federation Press. Pocock, B 2008, ‘The Impact of Work Choices on Women in Low Paid Employment’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 50, no 3, pp. 475-488. Pocock, B, Skinner, N & Ichii, R 2009, Work, Life and Workplace Flexibility (AWALI): The Australian Work and Life Index, University of South Australia, unisa.edu.au/hawkeinstitute/cwl Reinharz, S 1992, Feminist Methods in Social Research, New York: Oxford University Press. Rice, M 2004, Discomfort at the Coalface: Issue for casual tutors teaching in online enhanced learning environments, ASCILITE conference proceedings. Rood, D 2005, ‘Unis pushed into the Industrial Front Line’, The Age, Melbourne, 30 April, p. 10. Saunders, M, Lewis, P & Thornhill, A 2007, Research Methods for Business Students, Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education. Van Barneveld, K 2009, ‘Australian Workplace agreements in Universities’, Journal of Industrial Relations, 51:59, pp. 59-74. Whitehouse, G, Baird, M, Diamond, C & Hosking, A 2006, The parental leave in Australia survey. Accessed on 2 January 2010 at <http://www.uq.edu.au/polsis/ parental-leave/level1-report.pdf> Wooden, M, Warren, D & Drago, R 2009, ‘Working time mismatch and subjective well-being’, British Journal of Industrial Relations 47:1, March, pp.147-179. Wright, S, Williamson, K, Schauber, D & Stockfeld, L 2003, ‘Choice and Constraint In Academic Work on Campus and at Home’, Labour & Industry, vol. 13, no. 3, April, pp. 19-35. 50 The frustrated career: casual employment in higher education, Lorene Gottschalk & Steve McEachern vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees Margaret Lindorff Monash University Non-medical research involves the same issues of justice, beneficence, and respect for persons that apply to non-medical research. It also may involve risk of harm to participants, and conflicts of interest for researchers. It is therefore not possible to argue that such research should be exempt from ethical review. This paper argues that researchers should become more engaged with the ethical issues associated with their research, and that human research ethics committees and other institutional ethical review bodies should be viewed as resources which add value to the research process. To improve ethical review we need this engagement by researchers, and their involvement in the decision-making of ethics review bodies. This paper is a response to the Call for Papers in AUR vol. 51, no. 1, which starts with two very narrow questions: ‘Why would any university ethics committee think it necessary for ethics clearance to be granted to a researcher analysing data files that are publicly available?’ and ‘Why would an ethics committee require ethics clearance on a questionnaire on university reform to be administered to Vice-Chancellors?’ A purely rule-based response would refer readers to the section of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NH&MRC, 2007, p. 7) which states ‘The National Statement must be used to inform the design, ethical review and conduct of human research that is funded by, or takes place under the auspices of, any of the bodies that have developed this National Statement (NHMRC, ARC, AVCC)’. It would then argue that this section clearly rules that research undertaken in universities should be subject to review vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 by a human research ethics committee (HREC) where required by the National Statement. It would then suggest that analysis of publicly available data files may fit within the description of ‘negligible risk research’ (NH&MRC, 2007, p. 18) and that the National Statement allows exemption from review of negligible risk research which involves the ‘use of existing collections of data or records that contain only non-identifiable data about human beings’ (p. 79). Ipso facto, no review needs to be conducted – although with the rider that the National Statement then goes on to say that ‘Institutions must recognise that in deciding to exempt research from ethical review, they are determining that the research meets the requirements of this National Statement and is ethically acceptable’ (p. 79). The questionnaire for Vice-Chancellors seems to fit the description of the type of ‘low risk research’ which the National Statement allows to be reviewed Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff 51 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V at ‘a non-HREC level’ (p. 79). In both cases, the research does not require full review by a HREC. The survey of Vice-Chancellors would probably be reviewed in one of the non-HREC review processes allowed by the 2007 National Statement. This allows a system of review of low and negligible risk research by ‘people who are familiar with this National Statement and have an understanding of the ethical issues that can arise in the research under review’ (NH&MRC, 2007, p. 79). Under this process it is likely to have a time-frame of days, rather than weeks. However, such a rule-based approach to the ethics and ethical review of non-medical research is singularly unhelpful. It sidesteps the possible issues associated with other forms of non-medical research and the role of Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs), and does not permit a full engagement of these issues by academic researchers. Discussions of research ethics should not be limited to avoiding review, or even avoiding the unethical (Macfarlane, 2009); rather, they should centre on the nature of what it means to be an ethical researcher and conduct ethical research, and the role of HRECs in this process. To this end, this paper will reflect upon some of these issues in nonmedical areas, with particular emphasis on the discipline area, business, with which I am most familiar. However, other areas will be commented on in passing where appropriate. To begin, it is helpful to look at some fictional examples of non-medical research, and ask if there are any ethical issues in each case, and if so, what they are. Example 1: An education researcher wishes to test the effect of a particular teaching technique. She plans to allocate students to 2 groups: one who will get the new intervention, and the other which will get the traditional teaching methodology. Their year 12 exam results will be the dependent variable. Example 2: A sociology researcher wishes to study attitudes to court victim impact statements. She plans to interview victims of crimes to assess whether the impact of the crime upon them was accurately described in the impact statements. Example 3: A management student manages a fast food franchise which has introduced a new team-based leadership model. He wishes to evaluate the program by interviewing staff to see if they find the type of leadership provided by their team leaders to be effective. Example 4: An Arts researcher is researching the life of a person prominent in their area. The subject’s support is sought (and received) for the project, including 52 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W access to their papers and introductions to their colleagues and friends. The researcher’s interpretation of the responses is particularly critical of their subject, and, in the interests of honesty, he wishes to publish this. If he does it will negatively affect the subject’s career. Example 5: A researcher wishes to test the hypothesis that exposure to violent video games, movies and television shows has desensitised younger people to emotionally arousing situations. They plan to conduct an experiment using under 20-year-olds and over 40-year-olds as participants, and expose them to an emotionally arousing video (of an amputation). They will then test participants’ emotional response (dependent variable), and analyse the data statistically using average time spent each week on the relevant activities, age, and gender as the predictors. Example 6: A researcher wishes to examine the frequency of illicit drug use among senior secondary school pupils. An immediate response to example 1 is that if the new intervention is effective, then the students in that group will have an unfair advantage over students with the traditional teaching methodology – or vice versa. In example 2, the research, although not medical research, has the potential to distress participants. In example 3, the student researcher’s role may become conflated with his management role, and negative reports heard of staff behaviour in interviews may affect the current, and future, careers of staff. In example 4, publication of the research will do reputational harm to the subject. In example 5, the research has the potential to cause significant stress in participants. In example 6, the research, when published, has the potential to cause a risk to the reputations of those students and schools known to be involved, and raises informed consent (how do the researchers fully communicate to students the risks of potential identification if the researcher were legally obliged to disclose sources? should students only participate if their parents give consent?) and duty of care issues. And, although drug use is itself not illegal, the possession and distribution of particular substances is illegal, as is driving under the influence of such substances. Such examples suggest that not all non-medical research is ‘negligible risk’ or ‘low risk’ as defined in the National Statement (2007), and that non-medical researchers need to engage fully with the ethical issues involved in their research, and consider the pos- Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W from harm. Research demonstrates justice by focusing upon the welfare of participants and the public interest. It would be unjust, for example, if research benefitted organisations while the individual employees who bore the burden of research, and the wider society who either directly or indirectly funded the research (via the salaries of the university researchers or direct government grants) received no benefit.Yet an analysis What does it mean to be an ethical of articles published in the Academy of Management’s researcher? journals between 1958 and 2000 (Walsh,Weber & Margolis, 2003) found only 19 per cent of articles included I sincerely believe that no researcher in any field, reference to some aspect of welfare, down from the whether medical or non-medical, wants to conduct 35 per cent of articles in 1978. Not only did citation research that is unethical or unjust, which has risks analysis show studies of organisational performance that outweigh the benefits, or which has no respect received more citations than studies of employee for persons. Although these principles come from a welfare, but fewer than two per cent of the studies medical perspective that began as a response to the considered the effect of Nuremberg trials (Macorganisational practices farlane, 2009), there is no ...ethical researching requires continual outside the boundaries of argument which suggests engagement. It is more than compliance, the firm. Furthermore, most they are less valid for non‘following the rules’ or the law, or research involved some medical research. However, submitting HREC applications that are form of economic framing, ethical researching requires approved without questioning. or paid little attention to continual engagement. It is the firm’s role in society. At more than compliance, ‘fola simple level this does not lowing the rules’ or the law, appear just, and appears to suggest that the benefits of or submitting HREC applications that are approved much business research, at least, may go to organisawithout questioning. The three core principles of justions, whilst the burdens are borne by employees and tice, beneficence, and respect for persons appear in the public purse. the research ethics guidelines of many countries (MacSimilarly, Thornton (2008) argued that much farlane, 2009), including Australia’s National Stateresearch in the social sciences has become ‘commodiment (NH&MRC 2007). To apply these criteria in the fied’, often for the benefit of end users who see some positive requires some deeper understanding of these advantage in co-operating, and/or who are able to pay concepts and their operationalisation. This will be for the services.There is often a patron/client relationdone in the next section. Potential conflicts of interest ship between those who control access to participants will also be touched upon. (the patrons) and researchers (the client). Research Justice tends to be undertaken in areas that can provide funding. Projects, and the reputation of scholars, now rise Aristotle (1982, p. 257) describes justice as ‘that which or fall on their ability to attract large grants, rather than is lawful and that which is equal and fair’. Justice in projects’ capacity to act as a social good. research requires that particular groups or individuFurthermore, unlike medical research, business als not bear the burden in terms of time, energy, disand other non-medical research is often not designed comfort/distress or disclosure, while others receive to lead to immediate, specific, or large benefits to the benefits. The principle of justice also requires either individuals or society, or to the prevention of researchers to demonstrate fairness in the selection harm. Researchers and their employing organisations, of participants and not exploit those who are vulnerresearch participants and their employing organiable because of availability, compromised position, or sations, and society all have a stake in research outmanipulability. It also requires that the research and its comes, and these stakes are based upon different, and findings do not create or perpetuate social inequality. potentially competing, interests (Germeroth, 1994). What does this mean for researchers? First, justice The topics chosen for research reflect the interests of goes beyond the requirement to protect participants sible protection of participants. The first issue then becomes what principles should be used to guide researchers. The second is whether such research should be reviewed by a HREC or other formal process, or whether Chief Investigators should be responsible for ensuring their own research is ethical. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff 53 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V the stakeholders, and potentially reflect their power differences. Academic researchers generally have an interest in seeking and transmitting new knowledge, and in advancing their careers. Their universities have an interest in attracting research income and increasing research output. Potential participants may be most interested in issues related to their welfare at the individual, group, or organisational level. Organisations are normally interested in improving performance.The interests of the wider society are complex, but are at times transmitted through government funding priorities. Within this context it is difficult to ensure a balance of burdens and benefits. Moreover, business researchers’ knowledge-seeking can normally only be undertaken with the co-operation and support of employing organisations. Most business research is based on field studies (Scandura & Williams, 2000), and use participants from a single organisation (Ostroff & Harrison, 1999). This organisational support is only likely to be forthcoming if there is a demonstrable benefit to the organisation. Employees may therefore be asked to provide information for, or to commit time or energy to, a research project they would not otherwise wish to be involved in. This is especially so when the relationships are a result of a formal collaboration between universities and industry. Universities have a financial and public relations interest in obtaining sponsored or collaborative research. They see industry as a source of research funds, and actively encourage collaboration by rewarding researchers for industry-funded or collaborative grants. A positive view is that new problems are identified, researchers are intellectually stimulated, publications are increased, and student education is enhanced – and earnings are generated for university research. A negative view is that such relationships narrow the range of research to topics supported by particular organisations, and researchers lose their independence, focussing on short-term or commercially profitable products that promote specific interests of industry rather than the interests of individuals or society (Rule & Shamoo, 2001; Rynes, Bartunek & Daft, 2001). Buchanan and Bryman (2009) argue that this support for managerial agendas causes researchers to become ‘servants of power’. It needs to be asked, then, if there is justice in the chosen topics and methodology of much non-medical research. Although business research was mentioned above, another potential area of concern relates to the increasing use of students (tertiary, secondary, 54 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W and primary), often in class time, as research participants. Students are vulnerable because of availability, compromised position, and manipulability. There is often no benefit to them for participation – although some are concerned that there may be negative consequences for nonparticipation, despite assurances to the contrary. Is it fair and just that they are required to give up class time for a teaching staff member’s research project? As researchers, we need to keep in mind the principle of justice, and apply it to our own research efforts. This is not something which can be driven by HRECs, but, rather, needs to come from the engagement of researchers when selecting topics for knowledge-seeking. Bamber and Sappey (2007) argue that the requirement that HREC approval be received for research in organisations, and that such approval is only given if the organisation formally consents to the research, prevents much useful work in industrial sociology. Take away the requirement for review, they suggest, and you take away the requirement for organisational consent. Researchers may therefore go into organisations anonymously, collect data, and knowledge will be advanced. Such an approach sidesteps the ethical issue of justice, and also potentially breaches the second major principle of ethical research, beneficence. Beneficence The second ethical principle, beneficence, rests on a utilitarian framework which views actions as acceptable if they minimise risks of harm and maximise possible benefits. The National Statement (NH&MRC, 2007) specifies ‘Researchers exercise beneficence in several ways: in assessing and taking account of the risks of harm and the potential benefits of research to participants and to the wider community; in being sensitive to the welfare and interests of people involved in their research; and in reflecting on the social and cultural implications of their work’ (p. 11). ‘Where there are no likely benefits to participants, the risk to participants should be lower than would be ethically acceptable where there are such likely benefits’ (p. 13). Non-medical researchers, as well as medical researchers, thus need to assess the probability and magnitude of benefits and harm, and ensure they anticipate and confront harms such as embarrassment, stress, guilt, devaluation of worth, ostracism, loss of promotion or career opportunity, damage to relationships, and legal risk (Levine, 1986; NH&MRC, Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V 2007). As non-medical research is normally designed to benefit stakeholders other than the participants in the case of business research benefit is usually to the researcher or organisation commissioning the research - then no harm should be done to participants. A cognitive shift is required to one of explicit consideration, and at times the involvement of researchers in follow-ups to resolve any issues raised during the research process (Wright & Wright, 1999). In organisational research, for example, researchers need to ask if the publication of findings may embarrass or hurt the career of participants, and studies of workplace health may show need for intervention. An extreme example is an observational study of uranium miners in the US which found an association between exposure to radon in mine air and lung cancers, and did not warn participants about the dangers of the conditions in which they were working (Panikkar & Brugge, 2007).When the miners sought compensation the court determined the research was ‘observational’ not ‘experimental’, and the Nuremberg Code applied only to experimental studies.Therefore ‘it was neither necessary nor proper … to advise the miners voluntarily appearing for examinations of potential hazards in uranium mines….’ (ACHRE 1997, cited in Panikkar & Brugge, 2007 p. 129). This judgement shows how problems may occur if ethical standards are applied only to medical research. Assessing benefits and harm is not always easy, though. Some performance art, for example, may be designed to be extremely confronting for the audience – assessing the ‘risks’ of such work in a formal fashion is difficult, and if there was no possibility of ‘harm’ then the art would lose its purpose. (Author’s note: I wish to thank an anonymous reviewer for this insight). Additionally, the well-being of individuals, groups, and communities not directly involved in the research needs to be considered. These people also require beneficence, as they may be affected by research findings and publication, such as when research reports negative information relating to an identifiable person, or provides an interpretation which a group or community may find distressing or offensive, or finds a conditions which suggest there is a risk of harm to others. This may occur from research, for example, which highlights the prevalence of violence or child abuse in particular communities, or from the uranium worker research mentioned above which failed to disclose the potential risk of the mines to those living around them (Panikkar & Brugge, 2007). vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Respect for persons The third core ethical principle, respect for persons, is demonstrated by viewing individuals as autonomous agents, and protecting those with diminished autonomy. The National Statement (NH&MRC, 2007) ‘requires having due regard for the welfare, beliefs, perceptions, customs and cultural heritage, both individual and collective, of those involved in the research … researchers and their organisations should respect the privacy, confidentiality and cultural sensitivities of the participants and, where relevant, of their communities …Respect … involves giving due scope … to the capacity of human beings to make their own decisions’ (p. 13). This principle rests on the deontological framework which operates from the foundation that individuals have rights – such as for autonomy and privacy – and to violate these causes a wrong. People can be wronged through the violation of their self-determination when they are treated as the means to someone else’s ends even if they are not physically harmed (Macklin, 1999). An example of how this principle is applied by a professional body is the Academy of Management’s Code of Ethical Conduct (2002) which states ‘It is the duty of Academy members to preserve and protect the privacy, dignity, well-being and freedom of research participants.This duty requires … informed consent from all participants… Informed consent means explaining to potential participants the purposes and nature of the research so they can freely choose whether or not to become involved. Such explanations include warning of possible harm and providing explicit opportunities to refuse or participate and to terminate participation at any time. Because students and employees are particularly subject to possible coercion, even when unintended, special care must be taken in obtaining their informed consent…’ (p. 292). Despite this, there has been little discussion in the business research literature on the nature of this ‘special care’, and upon how researchers can ensure voluntariness and informed consent. Many work situations lack the contractual individualism necessary for informed consent because organisations may strongly support a research project, or because the organisational culture requires acquiescence to desires expressed by management. Similarly, practical issues mean many researchers in business and other social science areas still wish to recruit participants from their networks of friends or contacts with whom they have developed personal or business relationships. Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff 55 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V This also influences the selection of research topic and research design, and the presentation of findings (Buchanan and Bryman, 2009). In addition, research in some countries involves participation by people for whom human rights issues such as autonomy and informed consent are irrelevant to social and cultural norms (Macklin, 1999).They thus have no concept of any rights they may have regarding participation in research, even when they are told that participation is voluntary. Moreover, increasing use of open-ended qualitative research means that it is often impossible for participants to give informed consent to the use of their contribution, as they do not know in advance what themes may emerge, or how their words will be interpreted (Richardson & Godfrey, 2003). Participants may also introduce topics they did not intend to introduce, or the supportive climate of an interview may lead them to reveal details they did not intend to reveal.We need to reflect upon these issues, and engage in discussions about possible conflicts between ensuring the autonomy of individuals and groups and the desire to publish thorough and accurate research. We also need to reflect upon the rights of communities, and our responsibilities to them. Conflicts of interest Any research which involves groups or collectivities has the potential for conflict between this group’s desires, such as not to have negative findings published, and the researchers’ interest in undertaking a research project and accurately transmitting the findings (Rule & Shamoo, 2001). Findings may be suppressed within a group or organisation, or ignored by key stakeholders. Additionally, pressure may be placed upon researchers to interpret material in a particular manner. This possibility is heightened in those situations where contractual agreements require the group or organisation to ‘sign off’ on any publication coming out of collaboration. Academic researchers can also find themselves with an internal conflict of interest. It occurs when a person’s ‘judgment regarding the primary interest (such as a ... [participant’s] welfare or the validity of research) tends to be unduly influenced by a secondary interest, such as financial gain’ (Thompson, 1993, p. 573). Such a conflict may affect a researcher’s judgment or behaviour. Such conflicts include investigators holding collaborative or consulting agreements with the group or organisation sponsoring the research, employment of one or more of the researchers by the organisation 56 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W under study, or the researcher’s professional interest in ensuring a strong research publication record. However, there are also intrinsic conflicts of interest related to a researcher’s interest in conducting noteworthy studies which are published in prestigious journals. These are needed to for career advancement and a reputation in the area (Sollitto et al., 2003). Thus one US Institutional Review Board insists that participants in studies should be given the warning ‘All investigators and institutions have an ‘intrinsic’ conflict of interest, since professional advancement for physicians and scientists (such as promotion and reputation) depends in part on successfully enrolling patients like you into studies such as this one’ (cited in Sollitto et al., 2003 p. 89). Some conflicts, such as those resting on collaborative financial agreements, are normally recognised and disclosed to participants, although, again, the topic has failed to receive the same space in non-medical research as it has in medical research. However, the effect of other conflicts, such as the pressure exerted on universities to obtain external funding, and the subsequent pressure placed on investigators to obtain grants and undertake sponsored and collaborative research, are seldom recognised or discussed as ethical issues, particularly in non-medical areas, although they may be raised using other critical frameworks (e.g., Thornton, 2008). In contrast, the effect of research sponsorship on the shaping of research is frequently discussed in the medical literature and the media, and prominence is given to the potential bias in research topics or programs (see, for example, Tereskerz, Hamric, Guterbock & Moreno, 2009 for a study of the compromises made in medical research as a result of industry sponsorship). Those of us who research in non-medical areas should also reflect on this problem. Is there a role for HRECs? The section above summarised the major principles which are common to most discussions of ethics in research among humans (Macfarlane, 2009). This section will consider the realities for many researchers and the roles of HRECs and other ethical review bodies in non-medical research. The roles of researchers In writing about business and organisational research, Kakabadse, Kakabadse and Kouzmin (2002, p. 105) suggest it aims to advance and shape ‘organisational Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W with potential benefits to a larger group of people. As objectives, culture, individuals and societies as it prodiscussed above, it is more than giving accurate attribuvides new insights that inform premises upon which tion for research, and not fabricating research findings. decisions and judgements are based’. This needs to be It is easy to see ‘ethical’ in the research context as ‘being done within the reality of academic life – increased truthful and doing no physical harm’, but this directs pressure to submit applications for and receive comattention away from issues of participant, group, and petitive grants and publish in top-tier journals, reduced community rights. Additionally, harm is difficult to preadministrative support, and increased student-staff dict (Richardson & Godfrey, 2003). It requires underratios. Chief investigators are specialists in a subject standing of participant sensibilities, knowledge of the area who often supervise several research projects in context of their current situation, and appreciation of addition to their higher degree by research students, future possibilities. Busy researchers, no matter how and are under increasing pressure to ‘do more with experienced, seldom have the time or other resources less’. An increasing number of research students have to gather the data necessary to predict all possible outundertaken their undergraduate degrees outside Auscomes of the collection and publication of particular tralia and have not had the training in research ethics data. Nor do they have the knowledge to anticipate that is part of most Australian undergraduate or honoutcomes. They are specialists in their technical area, ours degrees. And the majority of research which is rather than specialists in submitted to University research ethics, and their HRECs appears on applicaIt is easy to see ‘ethical’ in the research knowledge of possibilities tions written by research context as ‘being truthful and doing no is limited by the number students or research assistphysical harm’, but this directs attention of research projects they ants, rather than Chief away from issues of participant, group, and have been involved in as Investigators. What follows community rights. an investigator, consultant, will be written in this conreviewer or advisor. Thus text. one study found almost a The role of HRECs quarter of experienced marketing researchers did not identify any of the ethical issues in a series of research Three arguments could be used as a rationale for not cases (Sparks & Hunt, 1998). The role in projects of submitting non-medical research to HREC or other Chief Investigator is also often that of supervisor, with form of external review: research students or research assistants completing Argument 1: Non-medical research should not much of the day-to-day work. Research students – who undergo ethical review as there are no ethical issues seem to undertake the bulk of research in many uniand no risk of harm to participants or others. versities – are even less likely to have the necessary Argument 2: Non-medical research should not knowledge or skills, particularly if their previous eduundergo ethical review as there are ethical issues, but cation has occurred in a country that does not use the these do not involve risk of harm to participants or ethical framework used in the West (Davis, 2003). others. Nor can researchers relinquish their professional Argument 3: Non-medical research should not responsibility to organisational representatives. One undergo ethical review as there are ethical issues that study found human resources (HR) professionals, who may involve risk to participants or others, but these are often act as gatekeepers to research in organisations, fully understood by researchers and always addressed were less sensitive to issues surrounding consent and by them. potential risk to participants than were members of The previous discussion showed both that there are Human Ethics Institutional Review Boards (Ilgen & ethical issues associated with non-medical research, Bell, 2001). The HR managers also believed employees and that these may involve risk of harm to participants were more likely to react negatively to the organisation or others. This leaves Argument 3 – that researchers if given all information needed for informed consent. fully understand the ethical issues and always address It seems, then, that at least in business, researchthem in their research. ers may not have a full understanding of all the ethiThe topic of research ethics is difficult, and the cal issues involved in their research, and decisions ethical principles sometimes seem contradictory. For regarding the ethics of a research project cannot be example, the issue of individual rights may conflict vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff 57 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V handed over to gatekeepers in the organisations in which the research is to take place. This seems to lead to three options. The first is that researchers individually develop a deep expertise in research ethics, as well as in their technical area. Second, they could use the expertise of others. Alternatively, they could both develop their own sensitivity and use the expertise of others.The latter is my preferred option. I view the role of HRECs and other institutional review bodies as technical experts in the ethics of research. I see them in a similar way to how I view technical experts in statistics or other areas – an invaluable resource for ‘adding value’. The role of HRECs should not be framed as an issue of diminished researcher autonomy. Rather, HRECs should be viewed as one component of the structures and processes which enable and ensure universities conduct high quality, ethical research. HRECs have expertise from their membership, which includes experienced researchers; from their experience in applying the National Statement; and from their familiarity with wider issues related to ethics in many kinds of research. This is an invaluable resource for busy researchers. And not only does it help to have an independent third party – in this case the HREC – review a research proposal. In many cases, the act of formalising research ideas for production of an HREC application can sensitise a researcher to other issues in the research. However, the ‘resource-based’ view of HRECs cannot be achieved without the engagement of researchers, or the assumption by researchers of personal responsibility for their work. ‘Ethical research’ is not something ‘stamped’ on research by a HREC or other review of the research summary and documentation. Rather, it involves consideration of the principles of ethical research at the research proposal stage. It requires researchers to ask questions such as ‘What are the benefits to society of my research?’, ‘Is my project biased toward providing an advantage for particular individuals or groups – and, if so, how can I balance that?’,‘How much has my research proposal been framed by the requirement to obtain funding, rather than the needs of individuals, groups and society?’, ‘How can I ensure that participants know exactly what we are doing in this project, and the possible consequences for them?’, ‘How can I obtain fully informed consent?’, ‘How can I make sure I am not taking advantage of a participant group who are vulnerable because of a power differential (my students, friends, colleagues, employees…)?’, ‘How can I mentor, supervise and train the research 58 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W students and assistants involved in the research?’,‘How can I ensure my research findings are shared with participants?’, ‘How can I ensure that research participation is a positive experience for participants?, ‘What are the consequences for others who are not directly involved in the research – will anyone be negatively affected by my data collection or publication of my research findings?’, ‘Do participants receive appropriate recognition for the time and energy they spend on the project?’. These questions cannot all be addressed by an external ethical review. In some ways it is unfortunate that Australia’s National Statement has evolved from an earlier version that related only to medical research. Although since 1985 the National Statement has been applied to non-medical research, it was specifically extended only in 1999. Even then, it was an extension, rather than a complete re-thinking. The latest version, although intentionally less medical in its language and presentation, still fails to resonate with many nonmedical researchers, who understandably see it as a remnant of the pre-1999 medical National Statement. Some of that hang-over comes in the ‘Call for Papers’ for this article, which was explicit in suggesting ethical requirements are an ‘imposition’ when applied to nonmedical research. It would be a pity if their potential for facilitating the engagement of researchers in ethical issues, better and more ethical research, and better outcomes for participants, were lost in negative framing such as this. So if I could wave a magic wand I would wish for four things. The first is greater engagement by non-medical researchers in the ethical issues related to research in their area. There are such issues, and they are not just the responsibility of review bodies. The second is greater personal responsibility by senior researchers for the ethical development of their students – it is not something to be left to review bodies, or faculty or university training programs.The third is the use of HRECs and other human ethics review bodies as a resource.As researchers, we need to engage them in conversations about issues associated with our research prior to submitting an application. We need to let them know if we find the review process unhelpful, and what can be improved (and thank them when it has resulted in better designed research!). The fourth is that review committees and researchers need to work together to ensure research processes that engage participants so they will respond and regard university research positively. We want a community which trusts university Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V researchers to do important work. We cannot afford a community backlash to ill-presented or poorly developed research that does not benefit participants or others, or overlooks individual or group rights. The most recent changes to the National Statement (NH&MRC, 2007) allow for alternative review of some low risk research, exemption from review of some negligible risk research, and single institutional review of multi-centre research.These innovations should lessen the frustration of some researchers who in the past have been faced with delays in research approval after HREC submission. And I admit that when it comes to ethical reviews HRECs are still learning. They are continually challenged by new research topics, disciplines, and methodologies (such as in performance-based drama), and by the need to have review processes that are swift as well as thorough. They are also challenged by membership resources spread thin, and by the need for a membership that fully reflects, and utilises, the research strengths of their institution and the interests of the wider community. We as researchers can do a lot to facilitate and improve the review process.We can engage in ethical issues, and show this engagement in our applications for institutional ethical approval.We can mentor our research students and junior researchers in the ethical issues related to our disciplines, and ensure their developing understanding is reflected in the applications they may submit on our behalf. We can use HRECs as ‘sounding boards’ for ethical issues related to our research areas. And, finally, we can improve ethical review in our institution by volunteering to be a member of its HREC or involved in the other processes responsible for ethical review of research. Improvement of ethical review processes is in our hands. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Buchanan, DA & Bryman A 2009, ‘Contextualising methods choice in organisational research’, Organizational Research Methods, 10, pp. 483-501. Davis, MS 2003, ‘The role of culture in research’, Accountability in Research, 10, pp. 189-201. Germeroth, D 1994, ‘Guidelines for the ethical conduct of organisational development agents’, The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 22, pp. 117-135. Ilgen, DR & Bell, BS 2001, ‘Conducting industrial and organisational psychological research: Institutional review of research in work organisations’, Ethics and Behavior, 11, pp. 395-412. Kakabadse, NK, Kakabadse, A, and Kouzmin, A 2002, ‘Ethical considerations in management research: A ‘truth’ seeker’s guide’, International Journal of Value-based Management, 15, pp. 103-138. Levine, R 1986, Ethics and the Regulation of Clinical Research, Yale University Press, New Haven. Macfarlane, B 2009, Researching with Integrity, Routledge, New York. Macklin, R 1999, ‘International research: Ethical imperialism or ethical pluralism?’, Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance, 71, pp. 59-83. NH&MRC 2007, National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. Ostroff, C & Harrison, DA 1999, ‘Meta-analysis, levels of analysis, and best levels of population correlations: Cautions for interpreting meta-analytic results in organisational behaviour’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, pp. 260-270. Panikkar, B & Brugge, D 2007, ‘The Ethical issues in uranium mining research in the Navajo nation’, Accountability in Research, 14, pp. 121-153. Richardson, JC & Godfrey, BS 2003, ‘Towards ethical practice in the use of archived transcripted interviews’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6, pp. 347-355. Rule, JT & Shamoo, AE 2001, ‘Ethical issues in research relationships between universities and industry’, Accountability in Research, 5, pp. 239-249. Rynes, SL, Bartunek, JM & Daft, RL 2001, ‘Across the great divide: Knowledge creation and transfer between practitioners and academics’, Academy of Management Journal, 44, pp. 340-355. Scandura, TA & Williams, EA 2000, ‘Research methodology in management: Current practices, trends, and implications for further research’, Academy of Management Journal, 43, pp. 1248-1264. Sollitto, S, Hoffman, S, Mehlman, M, Lederman, RJ, Younger, SJ & Lederman MM 2003, ‘Intrinsic conflicts of interest in clinical research: A need for disclosure’. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 13, pp. 83-91. Sparks, JR & Hunt, SD 1998, ‘Marketing researcher ethical sensitivity: Conceptualisation, measurement, and exploratory investigation’, Journal of Marketing, 62, April, pp. 92-109. Margaret Lindorff is an associate professor in the Department of Management at Monash University, Victoria, Australia and Associate Chair of the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee. Tereskerz, PM, Hamric, AB, Guterbock, TM & Moreno, JD 2009, ‘Prevalence of industry support and its relationship to research integrity’, Accountability in Research, 16, pp. 78-195. References Thompson, D 1993, ‘Understanding financial conflicts of interest’, New England Journal of Medicine, 329, pp. 573-576. Academy of Management 2002, ‘Academy of Management code of ethical conduct’, Academy of Management Journal, 45, pp. 291-294. Thornton, M 2008, ‘The retreat from the critical: Social science research in the corporatised university’, Australian Universities’ Review, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 5-10. Aristotle 1982, The Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Rackman, H, Harvard University Press, London. Walsh, JP, Weber, K & Margolis, JD 2003, ‘Social issues and management: Our lost cause found’, Journal of Management, 29, pp. 859-881. Bamber, G & Sappey, J 2007, ‘Unintended consequences of human research ethics committees: Au revoir workplace studies?’, Monash Bioethics Review, 26(3), pp. 26-36. Wright, TA & Wright, VP 1999, ‘Ethical responsibility and the organisational researcher: a committed-to-participant research perspective’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, pp. 1107-1112. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Ethics, ethical human research and human research ethics committees, Margaret Lindorff 59 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education Benedict Sheehy RMIT University Markets have a number of uses. One increasingly important use of markets by politicians is as a means of regulating the supply and distribution of goods and services formerly supplied and distributed by governments on non-market bases. The use of markets as a regulator of higher education is not novel. However, the increased reliance on markets as a regulator of higher education is an on-going experiment with certain predictable failures. This article explores the uses of the market in the supply and distribution of higher education and weighs it against the stated policy objectives, with particular attention to the application proposed in the Bradley Review. Introduction Market theory and market as regulator Markets in education are not new. Indeed, Adam Smith considered their potential in education. (Pusser 2006) The Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education (‘Bradley Review’) (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, & Scales, 2008) recommends regulating the university and tertiary education providers by markets and in particular by way of competition between higher education organisations for student consumers empowered with vouchers and by way of competition for funding for teaching and research. There are serious drawbacks to the approach which appear not to have been considered.This article, while focused on the voucher system, places it in the larger discussion of markets in higher education. In order to understand how markets may work as regulators, a review of market thinking and assumptions is necessary. There are three levels of thinking about markets. At a primary level, markets are means of distributing goods by bringing together sellers and buyers who transact for purposes of exchange. The basis for exchange in markets is mutual benefit; the seller benefits through increased wealth, the buyer via possession of the good. Markets in a capitalist context are operated for the purpose of wealth creation, not for purposes of distribution. The mechanism for the distribution is price, that is the value of the good expressed in monetary terms. Price does not have an objective basis but rests on perceptions about the relative need and resources of the parties vis-à-vis the good possessed by the other. At a secondary level, markets are believed to carry another set of innate benefits. These benefits are efficiency, innovation, and diversity. These benefits are 60 Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V deemed to occur because improved efficiency leads to improved profits, innovation leads to new sales, as does diversity. These benefits are believed to be the natural result of the mechanism of competition. The relationship between these secondary goods and competition is not at all clear. Nevertheless, it is these secondary benefits of markets that politicians wish to capitalise on in their efforts to introduce markets into higher education. Moving to a third level of thinking about markets, the level of the individual and the collective, i.e. the production and distribution of goods and resources, the idea is that the market is the most efficient and effective means of determining production and distribution by allowing producing and consuming individuals to pursue their own private self-interests. This approach it is believed will lead to the optimal distribution and ultimately public social good. In a perfect market, every party is able to achieve optimal personal ends and suitably protected by having complete, correct and timely information, perfect decision making abilities, clear commensurate, stable preferences, supported by clear contracting and property rights. Importantly, as the objective of the overall exercise, at least according to Adam Smith, is the betterment of society, the aggregate of individual’s private welfare is considered the equivalent of the common good – Nobel prize winning theory to the contrary notwithstanding (Arrow 1963). In other words, there is no need for any public accountability for public goods. Markets are effective in theory because most parties are able to get what they want – whether goods and services or profit – all other things being equal. The problem of course is that the governing condition, ‘all other things being equal’ seldom if ever occurs. Inequalities in purchasing power stand out, possession of accurate information and access to goods, stand out among other things. Accordingly, using the market as a regulator includes an assumption of acceptance of a certain amount of market failure, a questionable assumption as the recent multi-trillion dollar collapse and recession indicates. Finally, it assumes certain beliefs about objectives, goods and accountability. These include that the only objective is satisfaction of individuals’ private personal aspirations, that individuals have no public, collective aspiration for Australia, or the world in which they live, that higher education is exclusively a private economic good, and that matching of payment, production and distribution is sufficient accountability to all the participants individually and as a society. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Markets in higher education Policy makers have been using certain market mechanisms for some time in regulating higher education (Dill 1997a). They do so for a number of reasons: 1. To increase resources. 2. To increase choice for students by increasing diversity in higher education. 3. To improve quality (Newman, Courturier & Scurry. 2004), and 4. To increase both overall participation and participation of marginalised groups. These objectives are believed to be a natural result of competition. Each of these laudable objectives will be discussed in turn. The first policy objective, increasing resources, can be achieved by increasing efficiency or by finding new sources of revenue. Improving efficiency is a standard in policy objective and as noted above, it is believed to be a natural outcome of competition (Goedegebuure, de Boer & Meek. 1998). Competition, it is argued, encourages managers to improve efficiency by pressuring them seek to provide the same quality and quantity of service with less input to increase profits. However, it should be noted that management under pressure lack the time and resources necessary for careful analysis, deliberation and experimentation to correctly identify efficiencies, or even evaluate whether or not potential efficiencies exist without compromising quality or effectiveness. In a scarce resources environment under pressure, management will compromise quality and/or quantity and the safest of the two options will most likely be followed. Given that quantity is much easier to measure than quality, it is clear that in a resource starved environment, managers are most likely to cut quality. This quality reduction coordinates with the second strategy for increasing resources – cutting expenses. Higher education is a labour intensive activity with more than 70 per cent of operating costs going to labour costs. Therefore, to reduce labour costs, university management must increase reliance on cheaper part-time, casual and sessional lecturers, as well as making significant investments in information technology in the hope that it will serve as a substitute for academic labour. Although some efficiencies may have been achieved by the use of IT, as Bradley reports, the efficacy appears to be lacking particularly from the students’ perspective as they place a high value on contact with the academics. The third strategy for increasing resources by increasing revenue has been implemented Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy 61 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Risk taking requires the extra resources that may be by the tactics of bringing in fee paying international needed to recover from an error. It is poor manageand domestic students, and selling higher education ment to risk an enterprise’s survival on a new and services more broadly. These tactics certainly have innovative form of activity when models that are increased revenue and follow a competitive model. demonstrably survivable are available in the environIt is unlikely that this will be the only outcome of ment. An organisation can afford innovative risk taking competition. Competition comes at a cost. As noted, with its surplus, not with its foundation. Competition quality and efficiency are neither the only nor necesin an established endeavour like higher education prosary outcomes of competition. Competition among motes isomorphism as the organisations seek to emudesperate organisations produces a number of outlate and compete on the standards set by the leading comes, including collusion, corruption, debasing of successful organisations (DiMaggio & Powell 1983). In products, and the abuse of trust of workers, suppliers an established area where the standards for the comand customers. These negative effects of competition petition have already been set, as in the case of the have had significant impacts on the university. Among university, for more than a thousand years, the primary these negative effects is an increased discontent and question is whether one wishes to participate in that declining morale among members of the academic competition or be outside it all together. Competition profession, (Anderson, Johnson & Saha 2002; Davis & in this market does not create diversity (Meek & Wood Ferreira 2006) reduced quality, and even as the case of 1997 and Meek 2000). the University of Newcastle The third policy objecdemonstrated, corruption ...quality and efficiency are neither tive for introducing mar(Cripps 2005). the only nor necessary outcomes of kets into higher education With respect to the competition. Competition among desperate is quality. In order to second policy objective organisations produces a number of have a market based on of competition, increasing outcomes, including collusion, corruption, quality, information on choice and diversity comquality must be carefully debasing of products, and the abuse of petition the more likely collected, complete, coris just the opposite. The trust of workers, suppliers and customers. rect and timely. Further choices offered to students it requires consumer to will be those that are most make decision on the basis of the qualities promoted profitable to the university – as the federal governby the policy makers. Information in markets is a seriment learned when nursing and teacher training proous problem and one of the four basic types of market grammes were closed (Game, 2004) despite chronic failure. Nonetheless, it is hoped that markets will presshortages. Further, choices will be further constrained sure universities to improve quality by the publicato those courses which are currently popular, often a tion of rankings. The impact of markets on quality in reflection of pop culture – whether ‘LA Law’ or video higher education has been studied by Zemsky (2005). game design. Diversity decreases further as only those Zemsky observes that competitive markets as found courses that promise immediate entry into lucrative in university ranking, which students and their parcareers which are economically viable with a student ents use for decision making, fails to stimulate quality base of 15 to 20 are maintained. Law professor Cass improvements for a number of reasons. Perhaps most Sunstein argues that public interest requires govsignificantly, students and their parents are not particuernments to take into consideration non-economic larly interested in making decisions based on quality interests, and among other things the importance of indicators (Zemsky 2005). While a small cohort of parpreference formation where commercial markets ticularly keen students will make their decision based dominate society and threaten public space. In such on that information, so-called ‘zoomers’, who use presinstances, Sunstein observes, there is a prima facie tigious universities to fast track prestigious careers, case for not relying on markets but re-organising systhe rest of the students are ‘amblers’ and ‘bloomers’ tems to advance the more widely conceived notions of who develop as a result of their university experience public good and social welfare (Sunstein 1990, cited in and decide which university to attend on other bases. Morgan & Yeung 2007). These include proximity to home, security of person Diversity will further decline as organisations under for international students (Nyland & Smith 2009), pressure cannot afford to take entrepreneurial risks. 62 Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V where friends are planning to study, and location of programmes of interest (Zemsky 2005; Burke 2005). Further, Zemsky (2005) notes that the information used as quality indicators often fails to do so. Graduation rates, for example, show as much or more about student preparedness, career motivation, student resources and alternatives available to them, than about the quality of university courses. Further, universities have an incentive to create or rely on irrelevant indicators, such as athletics in the USA or ‘globalisation’ i.e. number of nationalities represented in the student body. Further, rankings themselves are far from the objective indicators they first appear to be. The creators of the highly cited Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking, for example, recently commented on the difficulties. Professor Liu wrote:‘Methodological problems involve the balance of research with teaching and service in ranking indicators and weights – inclusion of nonEnglish publications, the selection of awards, and the experience of award winners. Technical problems exist in the definition and name given to institutions, data searching and cleanup of databases, and attribution of publications to institutions and broad subject fields’ (Liu 2009). Finally, in order for a market to function in a way that will improve quality, Zemsky notes that the nature of the competition would have to change. The academic profession would need to be engaged. He writes that once quality has appeared at the top of the agenda, ‘then and only then will the faculty [i.e. academic staff] make the commitment that they… and no one else who can deliver the quality that is being sought.’ (Zemsky 2005, p. 294) There has been a great reluctance on the part of policy makers to give such power and voice to academics. On the issue of quality and competition, it should be noted that one of the beliefs driving the markets in higher education policy is that where students are paying more and university organisations are competing for those students, university organisations will be driven to improve quality to attract students. The evidence is just the opposite (Zemsky 2005; Burke 2005). University organisations use money from student fees to invest in prestige-enhancing research (Meek & Wood 1997). Further, university organisations will be forced to spend more on marketing to attract students. In other words, diverting funds from productive activities of teaching and research to marketing. Finally, fees have started an odd type of price war in which vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W top students are given the greatest subsidy that can be afforded by the wealthiest university organisations further entrenching a winner-takes-all market (Newman et al. 2004). Turning to the fourth policy objective, increasing overall participation, one would think that this to be a function of marketing, the economic environment and prestige and other social goods attached to higher education. Accordingly, it will require an investment in marketing by university organisations and governments to have greater increase in participation. And, with respect to marginalised groups it will depend on the removal of barriers to participation in the first place faced by those groups. Further, it would appear that policy advisors have misconstrued the nature of competition in the higher education market, the issue to which we turn next. Competition, markets and the university While policy makers are correct in identifying the existence of competition between university organisations, that competition is quite unlike competition in a market for private economic goods. Indeed, university competition is not at all like a competitive market in a commonly understood sense. Universities, for example, do not compete for all students or market share – in fact they pride themselves on excluding those with lower entrance scores. Further, as Dill observes, where conceptualising the competition as a market, there is not one market and one competition in which higher education organisations compete, but several. These include the market for education, for research, for academic labour (Dill 1997b), as well as for finance, prestige and reputation. It is prestige and reputation that are the major private benefits of higher education. That is, while higher education is often criticised for not providing practical work training (a debate which reflects fundamental disagreement about the nature of the educational project of higher education itself), higher education’s role includes credentialing which in turn creates broad social benefits as well as private benefits to individuals. With respect to individuals, the private benefit is referred to as ‘positional goods.’ That is, receiving a higher education award places the recipient in an advantageous social position vis-à-vis those without. Further, the more prestigious the awarding institution the greater the social value of the award. The competition for social position is not the competition the gov- Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy 63 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V ernment wishes to take account of, nor fund. Yet it is an intrinsic part of the competition in higher education. Finally, for the analysis to make sense, it must be noted that substantial goods that are neither economic nor private are produced by higher education. That is, there are substantial public social goods being produced by higher education. These goods are produced as much by cooperation as by competition. Accordingly, a narrowly conceived competitive market in higher education modelled as if it were producing and distributing merely private economic goods misconstrues the much more complex, actual state of affairs. Consider that to a large degree, the competition among universities is tangential to the market the government wishes to fund. The competition among universities is a competition for prestige and reputation (Brewer, Gates & Goldman. 2002) that has little demonstrable relation to the quality of education provided. Prestige is associated with the fixed assets of an organisation and requires significant investment. This investment offers no direct improvement in quality of education (Brewer, et al. 2002). The main elements in the competition for prestige are attractive buildings, doctoral programs, and researchers with international reputations. It is not a competition for quality that the government wishes to fund. Reputation, by way of contrast, is associated with the quality of education that an organisation is able to deliver. It is less stable, requires more effort and resources on the part of and put into staff, more difficult to measure and more difficult to maintain (Brewer, et al. 2002). It takes a different form of investment, in the academic professionals, in order to achieve this outcome. Newman notes that the creation of competition fundamentally changed the balance of priorities within university organisations in the USA. He observes that prior to 1940 teaching was the top role of academic staff. This role has been displaced by research as competition increased. Further, as rankings become more ubiquitous, pressure increases and university organisations create irrelevant competitive indicators, and abandon original missions when put under pressure to report even false or misleading metrics (Bevan & Hood 2006). Other organisations, including companies listed on stock exchanges or government agencies operating hospitals or public utilities, also behave in this way. Newman notes that universities follow that pattern as competition on agreed measures increases, and put more resources into research. This shift by university organisations towards research prestige, 64 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W notes Newman, is unlikely to be well aligned with public interests in the university’s teaching mission (Newman, et al. 2004). Further, given the nature of the competition, it amounts to what is referred to as a ‘winner-takes-all’ market.A ‘winner-takes-all’ market is a market in which a feedback loop is created, benefiting the winner and increasingly punishing the loser. That is, rather than creating a range of university organisations with a varying degree of quality, programs, teaching, and research strengths, is that this type of competition creates a few strong winners and a mass of impoverished, marginal organisations. This predictable and inevitable outcome, if history is any indicator, provides the basis for a way of public policy thinking. That is, rather than penalising and adding pressure to failing organisations and rewarding winners, failing organisations should be recipients of disproportionately higher levels of funding to allow them to improve and deliver the services for which they were designed in the first instance (Sunstein 1990 in Morgan & Yeung 2007). Losers under pressure are certain to make even worse decisions rather than experiment with innovations intended and needed to create the desired diversity. The winners will continue to take care of themselves. Finally, as noted above, the benefits of competition as a driver of innovation, efficiency and education are highly questionable (Kohn 1986 ). From an institutional perspective, cooperation between university organisations and members of the academic profession are not only an important norm, but have produced substantial benefits to the institution, its organisations, to academic staff and students as exchange programs indicate, and to society. In one sense, this difference between university organisations and profit-driven businesses in competitive markets should be obvious. Participants in economic markets compete for market share and profit margin, and seldom compete on the basis of quality, particularly when it is difficult to measure, as in the case of services. Universities, by way of contrast, have no interest in increasing market share or profits and are interested in quality only as it enhances prestige. Accordingly, importing a mechanism for private economic goods into an institution which provides significant public social goods seems an ill-considered proposal at best. In their earlier, extensive study of the use of markets in Australian higher education under the Hawke and Howard governments, Meek and Wood concluded with a sharp but sombre note. Market poli- Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The first basic assumption is that creating a voucher system will be sufficient to cause the creation of a competitive market in which universities will compete on the basis of quality. The market will have complete, correct and timely information and students will not only be able to use that information, but will make their decisions based on that information. Evidently, this assumption is a large one. The basis for university Voucher as regulator in the student market competition and student decision-making are unlikely to change as the result of the introduction of vouchers. The Bradley Review proposes a voucher system. A Further, it is unlikely that information asymmetries will voucher system is a form of market regulation that suddenly become insignificant as a result – a matter works by making students a type of consumer, shopto be addressed through a newly created agency disping for the desired good in a market composed of cussed below. a variety of higher education providers. The regulaThe second basic assumption is that supply of tory aspect of voucher systems is that they work like higher education by public non-profit universities money in the market for goods. The market for goods (instead of mere public constrains or regulates prosubsidy) is unnecessary. ducers of goods in that proThere are basic and significant reasons That is, that the ownership ducers will only produce that higher education has been provided and economic status of those goods for which conby non-profit organisations. Nonthe provider is irrelevant. sumers are willing to pay profit organisations not only address This premise is erroneand so not waste resources crucial problems in the interactions ous. There are basic and on unsaleable goods. The between potential students and higher significant reasons that idea of vouchers is that unieducation institutions such as information higher education has been versities will be regulated to provided by non-profit offer only those courses that asymmetries, but also are the only organisations. Non-profit have a sufficient number of organisations that have a purely public organisations not only students demanding them mandate—that is, a mandate to deliver address crucial problems in to be viable and so not public goods (which by definition do not the interactions between waste resources on unviflow from markets). potential students and able courses. higher education instituA voucher system alone tions such as information asymmetries (Hansmann does not create a complete market. Rather they form 1986), but also are the only organisations that have a a partial market, or ‘quasi-market’ (Niklasson 1996). purely public mandate – that is, a mandate to deliver Whereas a complete market in higher education public goods (which by definition do not flow from would allow providers to set fees, negotiate wages and markets). other inputs without government support or intervenFurther, non-profit organisations specifically reject tion, vouchers create a university system regulated or market distributions in order to achieve other objecdriven by the demands or preferences of voucher holdtives, including some forms of market failure such as ers. That is, the market regulatory device of demand, public goods (Auteri & Wagner 2007). In the higher rather than an alternative such as government allocaeducation context, nonprofit organisations have tions, is used to create a demand-driven quasi-market. played a dominant role for important reasons. As The voucher system is premised on a number of noted American higher education scholar, Professor assumptions, some of which have already been disPusser puts it: ‘the nonprofit degree granting institucussed. Accordingly, they need not be repeated here tion ...has become dominant in a large measure to except as a refresher and as they have particular bearprotect against moral hazard and underinvestment ing on a voucher system. This section identifies the but also to ensure that the contributions of higher three basic assumptions and pitfalls underlying this education to the public good will be widely dissemiparticular aspect of market-based regulation for higher nated’ (Pusser 2006). That is, the things we as a socieducation. cies, they wrote, ‘are but fiscal measures and are not set within the context of a well articulated philosophy and rationale for higher education.’ (Meek & Wood 1997, p. 270) The Bradley model does not address this fundamental error.We turn next to the specifics of Bradley’s market strengthening mechanism of vouchers. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy 65 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V ety seek from higher education are best protected by use of the non-profit form. Some in Australia have confused ‘private’ with ‘nonprofit’. Indeed, the former Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University, Allan Gilbert, promoting the now defunct for profit Melbourne University Private proclaimed ‘[the] best universities in many countries are private universities’ (Cain and Hewitt 2004). While it is true that some are private, they are without exception non-profit. Provision by non-profit providers is critical, and in Australia which lacks the philanthropic traditions of the USA in higher education, the only nonprofit providers are public. A third basic assumption, that the market will work to regulate the university as a producer of educational goods just as it works to regulate producers of other private goods, merits consideration. In particular, this assumption is itself premised on three further assumptions: that this market will drive efficiency and avoid waste, that informed consumers individual choices will be based on quality and that in the aggregate those choices will amount to public good. We examine each in turn. As Pusser notes, portable subsidies (vouchers) have been in use in the USA for more than sixty years. He goes on to note however, that ‘there is little empirical research to indicate that the choice provided by public subsidies has increased efficiency and productivity have led to lower costs of production’ (Pusser 2006). As matters of choice, efficiency and productivity are priority objectives of the Australian policy proposal, the voucher approach seems a poor policy choice.The experiments with student vouchers in the USA should lead to a very cautious approach to their adoption in Australia. Next, as noted, the majority of students do not make decisions based on quality. Finally, the belief that the sum total of private economically conceived decisions will produce socially and economically optimal outcomes as noted above has been demonstrated as being incorrect by Kenneth Arrow. A market model, dependent on individual student demand fails to deliver anything other than a market replicating the preferences of a cohort of teenagers – at least where the majority of students are recent high school graduates. That is, the long term consequences of having universities cater to the interests of teens ignoring the larger social, political and economic consequences of those decisions seems to be a poor policy choice. It should be expected that the private interests of teens may well diverge markedly from wider long term public social interests. 66 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Problematically, Bradley’s market voucher system ignores the evidence. Student vouchers have not produced efficiency and quality in a six decade test. The American system demonstrates such. It also ignores the evidence concerning the role of non-profit organisations. Further, few students make the decision to attend a particular university on the basis of quality. The evidence is that students base their choice on issues of importance to them: location, job prospects and affordability of living in the preferred location, family and other matters. Next, it ignores the efficacy in marketing by higher education providers. Marketing does not only provide accurate timely information. It equally increases the information asymmetry making it more difficult for university students to make decisions about the use of their vouchers. Further it fails to take account of the fact that marketing while increasing the difficulty of measuring and evaluating the quality of higher education services (Cooper 2002), reduces the already weak role quality plays for making decisions. That is, as marketing information induces students to make decisions on criteria other than quality – after all, in a winner-takes-all market, only a few are truly ‘world class.’ Thus, rather than a voucher system driving universities to improve quality they will produce some unintended consequence. In sum, Bradley’s objective of using vouchers as means to achieve quality ends is unlikely. Neither students nor universities compete on the basis of some measure of raw quality (Brewer et al. 2002). A voucher system that ignores the public and social goods, as well as the moral hazards of for-profit provision as seen in the recent scandals of private higher education providers facilitating in immigration fraud indicate. The Bradley model and market failure There are three serious market failures which call for comment – two addressed, the other ignored in the Bradley Review. Bradley has attempted to address information asymmetries, by proposing a new agency a proposal accepted in the recently announced ‘Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency’ (TEQSA), a core task of which is the provision of information about courses. This is certainly a worthwhile objective; however, as noted, it is not clear that the service of providing information will change how people make decisions. Further, there already is considerable information available from the current quality regulator Australian Universities Quality Agency. In addition, Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V there is quality information published on a commercial basis, for example, The Good Universities Guide. The other market failure, poor distribution to marginalised groups, has also been addressed in the Bradley Review. Bradley seeks to correct distributions by setting special targets for low socio-economic status and for students from remote rural areas. This proposal is unlikely to be successful for reasons discussed among others. The most fundamental failure, however, is in the provision of public goods.The market model fails because it neither acknowledges the collective nature of the educational endeavour of the higher education community, nor the collective aspirations of the nation. That is, the nation desires and requires people to work together to create society with a capacity to respond to national and global issues beyond the narrow scope of individual private economic self-interest (Krygier 2005). Conclusion There are at least three problems with the market model: first, from the perspective of the university organisations, even if one accepts the questionable premise that university organisations are currently suffering from inefficiencies after a decade of increased efficiencies in response to declining funding, it is far from clear that competitive markets are certain to promote further efficiencies. Further, as demonstrated, competition among universities does not motivate improvement in quality of service. Indeed, it would appear that competition increases the likelihood of the previously identified unintended consequences. These include poorer decision making in turn resulting in decreased efficiency, increased fraud, declining standards, and a decline in the critical academic profession. Second, from a system-wide perspective, competition is most unlikely to increase diversity. Rather, it is likely to exacerbate the copying of a few successful leaders. Further, the system needs to be accountable to society and the nation as a whole not simply the private preferences of some. The characterisation of the mission of the university as satisfying the private economic aspirations of individuals is a failure to identify the goals of the nation and the objects of social living. Third from the students’ perspective, the proposed market neither accords with their interests in prestige nor more pedestrian preferences of studying close to home. It is not that students are uninterested in vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W quality, nor that information on quality is unavailable. Students are interested in quality: they simply rank it differently. Far from being the exclusive criteria the government seeks, it ranks lower than others. Further, there is information available. Even if Bradley’s proposals were introduced, research on information asymmetries in higher education markets suggests that they are extensive and intractable. Further, before casting the student onto a mound of information, consideration should be given to the nature of the purchase. An undergraduate education is a once in a lifetime purchase which cannot be corrected (Dill 1997b). Accordingly, more than distribution of information to uninterested prospects is required from government. The growth in markets in general and as a form of regulation are part of the demise of the welfare state, and the rise of neoliberalism (Henkel, 1991 cited in Meek 2000). Regardless of one’s position on the politics of the issue, the conception of higher education as exclusively, or even primarily private economic goods is highly contestable indeed if not wrong. Regulation of higher education needs to start with a clearer perspective starting from first principles of higher education including its public purpose. If markets are to be used, they must be designed carefully to push institutions to constant improvement in teaching and public service (Newman, et al. 2004) rather than pursuit of narrowly conceived self interest. The market model is problematic because the simplistic private economic model on which it operates blinds one to the more difficult problem of social coordination and control, as well as the issues surrounding public social goods. These significant non-market features of higher education militate against the use of the market model and market mechanisms. It requires open political debate, and courageous political decisions instead of a blind faith in markets as guiding higher education policy. As Newman et al. wrote: ‘policy makers and academic leaders [must] engage in ... substantive discussion with each other about the nature of higher education [as a private economic good training for the workforce, or a public good contributing to the well being of society as a whole]. In the absence of such debate and of conscious planning, the system of higher education will likely drift into some new market-oriented format without adequate restraints and with an ongoing erosion of its fundamental purposes, a form difficult to change once established. The result is likely to be the loss to society of some of the Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy 67 A U S T R A L I A N U N I attributes of higher education that are essential of a free and effective society.’ (Newman, et al. 2004, p. 46) In other words, although the Bradley Review has gone some distance engaging and challenging politicians on the crucial issue of Howard’s underfunding, it fails on the equally crucial matter of regulating higher education in accord with its most important contribution – the public and social goods it uniquely delivers. Benedict Sheehy is a senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Business & Law at RMIT University, Victoria, Australia. V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W professional dilemmas of environmental educators undertaking research with/ for private corporations,’ Australian Journal of Environmental Education 22(1): 39-47. 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Anderson, D, Johnson, R & Saha, L 2002, Changes in Academic Work: Implications for universities of the changing age distribution and work roles of academic staff Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia. Henkel, M 1991, Government, evaluation and change. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Arrow, K 1963, Social Choice and Individual Values. New York, London, Sydney, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Auteri, M & Wagner, RE 2007, ‘The Organizational Architecture of Nonprofit Governance: Economic Calculation Within an Ecology of Enterprises,’ Public Organization Review 7: 57-68. Bevan, G & Hood, C 2006, ‘What’s Measured is What Matters: Targets and Gaming in the English Public Health Care System,’ Public Administration Review 84(3): 517-38. Bradley, D, Noonan, P, Nugent, H & Scales, B 2008, Review of Australian Higher Education, Canberra, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Brewer, D, Gates, S & Goldman, C 2002, In Pursuit of Prestige: Strategy and Competition in U.S. Higher Education, New Brunswick, USA and London, UK, Transaction Publishers. Burke, JC, 2005, The three corners of the accountability triangle: serving all, submitting to none, Achieving accountability in higher education: balancing public, academic, and market demands, J. C. Burke. San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass. Cain, J & Hewitt, J 2004, Off Course: from public place to marketplace at Melbourne University, Carlton North, Vic, Scribe Press. Cooper, T 2002, Concepts of ‘quality’: And the problem of ‘customers’, ‘products’ and purpose in higher education, ‘Quality Conversations’ proceedings of the 25th HERDSA conference, Joondalup. Cripps, J 2005, Findings of corrupt conduct & disciplinary action recommended in Newcastle University report, Sydney, Independent Commission Against Corruption. Davis, JM & Ferreira, J-A 2006, ‘Higher Education Inc.: The personal and 68 Kohn, A 1986, No Contest – The Case Against Competition. Boston, Houghton Mifflin. Krygier, M 2005, Civil Passions. Melbourne, Black Inc. Liu, N C 2009, ‘The Story of Academic Rankings’, International Higher Education 54(2). Accessed 25 November 2009 at <http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/soe/ cihe/newsletter/Number54/p2_Liu.htm> Meek, VL 2000, ‘Diversity and marketisation of higher education: incompatible concepts?’, Higher Education Policy 13(1): 23-39. Meek, VL & Wood, F 1997, ‘The market as a new steering strategy for Australian higher education’, Special Issue of Higher Education Policy 10(3/4): 253-274. Morgan, B & Yeung, K 2007, An Introduction to Law and Regulation: Text and Materials, Cambridge University Press. Newman, F, Courturier, L & Scurry, J 2004, The Future of Higher Education: Rhetoric, Reality and the Risks of the Market. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass. 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Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education, Benedict Sheehy vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia Tony Sheil Griffith University This paper examines why the development of a world class university system represents a rational, even inevitable, policy approach for Australia in response to world university rankings. It assembles evidence questioning the value of policies which direct undue emphasis on the concentration of resources and the development of elite universities, especially in smaller nations. Several recent policy initiatives have enhanced Australia’s ability to maintain a strong university system and this has meaningful implications for the international promotion of Australian higher education. The ‘system’ approach necessitates that Australia continue to pay close attention to world university rankings but develop more sophisticated means of classifying and benchmarking universities to ensure the required diversity of institutional missions to achieve all that is expected of the system. its intention to maintain a world-class university system.(Bradley et al.,2008, p. 124) Introduction On 12 December 2008, the report of the Review of Australian Higher Education (Bradley Report) was forwarded to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment & Workplace Relations, and Minister for Social Inclusion, the Honourable Julia Gillard. The 271-page report contained not a single mention of world university rankings and scant reference to the notions of research concentration and development of elite universities. It instead exhorted Australia, as a nation that grossed $14.2 billion from the ‘export’ of educational services in 2007–08, to develop a worldclass university system: Similar sentiments were expressed in the Review of the National Innovation System report, VenturousAustralia, released in September 2008: The reputation of Australia as a quality provider of international education depends on it being able to provide a clear and unequivocal statement about These conclusions were not entirely unexpected given statements made by the relevant Minister shortly after the election of the new Commonwealth vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Rather than debating whether Australia can support two or three ‘world-class’ universities, the focus should switch to establishing a hundred or more world-class research facilities and research groups across the whole university system. Domestic and international networking should be promoted to ensure that the benefits of specialisation and concentration of research activity are spread across the whole of the system.(Cutler, 2008, p. 70, and Annex 6, p. 9) Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil 69 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V Government. In February 2008, Minister Gillard announced: We want the system to be world-class so wherever students are in this country, whatever institution they’re at, they’re getting a world class education (Gillard, 2008). This is a shift in the philosophy of how resources should be distributed within Australian higher education; a shift from policies favouring concentration to promotion of quality and excellence throughout the system. Why would Australia choose this direction when it clearly has the financial resources to develop a world leading university? The answer is partly provided in the Bradley Report (Bradley et al., p. 87) which states: Australia has been a world leader in international education. It has also been extremely successful in developing education as an important export industry and Australia’s universities have been central to the development of this industry. Few nations view education as an export commodity in quite the same way as Australia. In 2007-08 Australia’s education services exports were reported as being valued at $14.2 billion (ABS, 2008) increasing to more than $15 billion in 2009, placing education as the number one service export and third overall to coal and iron ore. This places Australia as the nation with the greatest reliance on international students to balance the higher education budget. International students now comprise 19.7 per cent of all tertiary education enrolments, well ahead of the OECD average of 7.3 per cent. The average university in Australia now derives 15 per cent of its revenue from international student fees, ranging from Charles Darwin University (3 per cent) to Central Queensland University (44 per cent). All 39 universities are exposed to the global higher education market creating a situation whereby Australia is highly dependent on its good standing in the international market and the sustainability of that market in times of economic downturn. It is hardly surprising therefore that accreditation, quality assurance and a public accountability framework featured prominently in the Bradley Review.This was reaffirmed by the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Ian Chubb, commenting on the need for more stringent university accreditation requirements: ‘It is important for Australia that the term ‘university’ means something. And it means validating claims beyond self belief based on self-asser- 70 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W tion’ (Chubb, 2008). This position is also supported by leading international commentators, most notably Philip Altbach, who in February 2008 warned that the most active participants in the international higher education race could well face a ‘sub-prime style crash’ if improved regulation and quality assurance are not adopted (Altbach, 2008). With high levels of exposure to the global education market it is vital that Australia maintains a strong higher education system rather than place its reputational hopes on developing three or four prestige institutions to ‘serve as beacons for the export industry’ as argued by some commentators (Slattery, 2009). It would however be selling Australia short to conclude that it is all about money. Global engagement is recognised as having many dimensions including: economic contribution; preparing Australian students for a global workforce; meeting skills shortages within Australia; international knowledge exchange and scholarly collaboration; and the achievement of foreign policy goals with neighbouring countries (Strategy Policy and Research in Education Limited, 2009). While this seems logical enough in hindsight, it took years of debate and analysis to arrive at this point of realisation. Up to the eve of the Government’s decision on the Bradley Report persistent lobbying was occurring urging restructuring of higher education in Australia to create greater diversity, concentrate research funding, and even create a tiered system of higher education (Group of Eight, 2008). The preferred Australian approach also runs contrary to an apparent international trend to concentrate excellence, possibly reflecting Australia’s strong egalitarian traditions combined with the recent change in the political landscape. The Bradley Report signals a rejection of the influence of university rankings as a driver of public policy, making Australia possibly the first nation to explicitly do so. This is not to suggest that Australia should turn its back on the rankings phenomenon altogether. With 17 of its 39 universities represented in the top 500 of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) Academic Ranking of World Universities 2009 (Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, 2009), Australia stands to gain more by monitoring the rankings to ensure that quality continues to run deep within its university system and that the world is aware of this high standing. This analysis however begins with world university rankings and their influence on public debate within Australia since the emergence in 2003 of the SJTU Aca- Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W as the University of Manchester (gained 49 places), Copenhagen (21 places), Paris XI (24 places), and Paris VI (UPMC) (21 places). • Access to the top 25, for the near future, is beyond What are the international ranking systems most nations. For example, Harvard with 187 ‘Highly telling us about university systems? Cited’ researchers (Hi-Cis) almost matches Canada (as a nation) with 190. (Note that, at the time of writWorld university rankings focus attention on the leading, Harvard has grown by 16 Hi-Cis during the past ing universities and support the theory that concentra18 months, double the total number of Hi-Cis in Iretion of resources to develop world-leading universities land and two fewer than New Zealand). is essential for a nation to participate effectively in • Universities from the smaller nations can however the global knowledge economy. Previous research compete well at the ‘field’ level: Swiss Federal Instihas highlighted the potential for rankings to be used tute of Technology – ETH Zurich – 9th in natural constructively by governments to ‘stimulate a culture sciences and mathematics; Sweden’s Karolinska of quality’ and by institutions ‘for strategic planning Institute – 8th in clinical medicine and pharmacy, and quality improvement purposes’ (Salmi & Saroyan, 15th in life and agricultural sciences; Australian 2007). Others assert that rankings should not be used National University – 35th in natural sciences and to deliver policy messages on educational issues and mathematics, 42nd in life and agricultural sciences. that ‘while indicators and league tables are enough to • The top global academic talent is highly concenstart a discussion on higher education issues, they are trated. Alumni from 198 universities have gone on not sufficient to conclude it’ (Saisana & D’Hombres, to win Nobel Prizes but at the time of award, these 2008). were working in just 136 universities. Most of the With this in mind, precisely what are the internaworld’s 6,950 Highly Cited researchers are concentional university rankings telling us? Not much, but trated in 450 or so universities. they do reveal something about the static nature of Regrettably, many exceluniversity systems and the lent universities are not long-term commitment Regrettably, many excellent universities placed in the top 500 listrequired by governments are not placed in the top 500 listings and ings and continue to grapand societies for individual continue to grapple with the one-sizeple with the one-size-fits-all universities to fulfil their fits-all approach of rankings. ... Rankings approach of rankings. The potential. devalue the role of these ‘niche’ players in University of Maribor in Key ‘system-wide’ mesSlovenia, the University sages from SJTU Academic the higher education ecosystem and distort of Cairo in Egypt, the UniRanking of World Universithe policy signals in many nations. versity of Iceland, and the ties are: University of Mekarere in • Of the world’s nearly Uganda are four examples of institutions which have 10,000 universities, research performance is concena strong nation building role, play a niche role in trated in the top 500 and is virtually undetectable research, and yet are absent from the SJTU rankings. (on that index) beyond 2,500. Rankings devalue the role of these ‘niche’ players in • There is a band of around 200 world-class researchthe higher education ecosystem and distort the policy intensive institutions however within this there is signals in many nations. a ‘super-league’ of approximately 25 world-leading On the upside, rankings deliver a brutal message. institutions. They have raised the awareness levels of the global • These 25 world leaders are distinguished by large position of our nations and institutions. Very few vicebudgets, large endowments, age, excellent staff to chancellors, rectors and presidents are unaware of student ratios, and most importantly, access to large the positioning of their university in the international pools of highly developed human capital (staff and domain and many take an acute interest in performstudents). ance measures such as Thomson Reuters indexed arti• There are very few ‘movers’ on the SJTU index. The cles and the attractiveness of their university to Highly biggest non-US movers in the Top 100 (since 2003) Cited researchers, international staff and students. are the result of mergers and strategic alliances such demic Ranking of World Universities and assembles evidence in support of a system approach. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil 71 A U S T R A L I A N U N I Rankings can also be used as a powerful institutional benchmarking tool. Even the SJTU rankings began life as an attempt to benchmark institutional performance (Liu, 2009). The fact that the SJTU is now ranked in the top 250 in the world (after placing in the 401-450 band in the original 2003 ranking) and top 50 in the world for publications output (having increased sixfold) speaks volumes of that university’s commitment to the process it instigated almost 10 years ago, before the rankings were published. On the downside, rankings risk fuelling a culture of university management by instant gratification resulting in short term strategies to lift apparent performance. They are one dimensional and usually designed from the top down, with indicators based on the measurable characteristics of leading universities. Measures used in the tables are ‘largely determined by the data available, not necessarily by clear definitions of quality’ (HEFCE, 2008). ‘World class’ becomes synonymous with ‘Western’ which in itself means an emphasis on big-budget scientific research. Thus, what is measured by the world university rankings is the degree to which universities conform to those major US institutions that are large, wealthy and usually have broad discipline coverage. This results in universities in both developed and developing nations trying to ‘emulate the West’, rather than ‘develop their own unique character’ (Birnbaum, 2007). Governments are keenly looking for strategies to lift their flagship universities into the rankings with the favoured approaches being the concentration of financial and human resources and accumulation of critical mass through mergers. Rankings however are a zero sum game and, at best, such strategies will only allow universities to hold their place given the prevalence of nations adopting similar initiatives. Concentration of resources – the favoured strategy of large nations According to the World List of Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Education there are 9,760 university level institutions and 8,000 non-university level institutions of higher education (International Association of Universities, 2006). The SJTU top 500 therefore comprises the top five per cent of world universities and the top three per cent of all higher education institutions. There is no doubt that rankings have led to undue policy emphasis on the development of world-class 72 V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W universities which usually equates to the top two per cent (top 200). Universities further down the order are responding by conforming to the gold standard set by the leaders, as one would expect. However, universities placed even at number 500 have little in common with the world leaders. The strategies used by the leading institutions are inappropriate to inform the direction of 98 per cent of world universities and yet these universities continue to attract a majority of policy attention and often provide ‘best practice’ cases for the university sector worldwide. This emphasis has supported the emergence of programmes of a growing number of so-called nation-building programs designed to achieve institutional research excellence through concentration of resources. Some of these include: • China 985 Project (Yao et al., 2008). • Germany Excellence Initiative. • Brain Korea 21 Program. • Japan Top 30 Centres of Excellence for 21st Century plan. • Taiwan Development Plan for University Research Excellence. These policies of research excellence centre on improved governance, institutional autonomy, mergers, sectoral segmentation and, without exception, concentration of funding. In the case of China, the concentration occurs in 34 universities out of more than 1,700 universities and higher education institutions. The German initiative focuses additional investment of US$2.3 billion on 10 universities out of 70 universities and universities of technology and 167 Fachhochschulen. Are strategies of concentration working? If they are, then the results are not yet apparent on the SJTU rankings. By observing the distribution of institutions on the SJTU index according to articles indexed in the Web of Science in 2003 and in 2009 the results are illuminating. Harvard serves as the benchmark in both years scoring a maximum of 100 points. Nearly every institution below rank 175 on the SJTU index is producing more Web of Science indexed articles relative to Harvard now than in 2003. Surprisingly, 93 of those ranked 175 and above are producing fewer Web of Science indexed articles relative to Harvard now than in 2003 (42 of these are in the top 100). The evidence suggests that major movement on the index is occurring within the ranks from 175-500 where conformity to the ‘gold standard’ set by Harvard is now more sought-after than before the emergence of rankings. Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V The same analysis performed for the Highly Cited researcher indicator on the Shanghai Jiao Tong University index provides stronger evidence of the impact on behaviour of the rankings. Harvard again sets the world benchmark for this indicator scoring 100 points in both 2003 and 2009. In 2003, 334 institutions on the SJTU rankings employed at least one Highly Cited researcher. By 2009 this had increased to 422 ranked institutions employing a Highly Cited researcher. This indicates that almost 90 additional ‘middle-ranked’ institutions have acquired Highly Cited researchers since 2003. This is a logical consequence of the SJTU rankings given the existence of a ‘Hi-Ci’ on the staff of almost any mediumsized research-led university virtually guarantees placement in the SJTU top 500. It is also the most efficient means for a medium-ranked university to improve its ranking on the Shanghai Jiao Tong index. The ‘additional’ Highly Cited researchers were drawn from three sources: growth in the pool of Thomson Hi-Cis; recruitment or joint appointment of Hi-Cis from nonuniversity organisations; and leakage of Hi-Cis from top 50 universities (approximately half of the top 50 have lower scores now than five years ago). These changes to the distribution of universities on the Shanghai Jiao Tong index indicate that real change is occurring from rank 175 to 500 and that strategies of excellence are not yet resulting in major improvements in the upper echelon (i.e. top 100) as determined by the rankings. Developing world leading universities – not an option for small nations Several nations have expressed aspirations to develop universities which are placed in the world top 20.Analysis by QS (Sowter, 2008) of the Times HE-QS World University Rankings provides further insights into leading universities showing that they are well established (i.e. old); small or medium sized by world standards; are extremely well resourced; and are highly selective in their recruitment of both staff and students. Sowter’s estimates align with those reported by Usher (2006) which state that a world leading university is at least a US$1.5 to 2 billion enterprise. Small and developing nations are therefore confronted by almost insurmountable challenges in the quest to develop world-leading universities including the availability of human capital within their nation and the inability to attract leading researchers of the vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Table 1: Selected small nations: Highly Cited researchers (as at November, 2009) and Nobel Laureates (19012009) Includes Peace Prize, excludes organisations (e.g. Médecins Sans Frontières, Belgium) Nation Highly Cited researchers Nobel Prize winners Austria 18 21 Australia 112 11 Belgium 39 9 Denmark 31 14 Finland 18 3 Hungary 7 12 Ireland 8 9 Israel 49 8 The Netherlands 100 18 New Zealand 18 3 Norway 14 10 Singapore 2 0 Sweden 63 28 Switzerland 115 25 Source: Thomson ISI (Highly Cited researchers), Wikipedia (Nobel Laureates) highest order from overseas. World-class universities are able to select the best students and attract the most qualified professors and researchers and even wealthy universities in small nations struggle to attract sufficient talent in comparison with the top 20 universities. Harvard University at no. 1 on the SJTU ranking currently employs 187 highly cited researchers while the University of Tokyo at no. 20 employs 33. The institution ranked at no. 5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology states on its website that ‘72 current or former members of the MIT community have won the Nobel Prize’ while John Hopkins (no. 19) reveals that 32 of its current or former staff and students have received the Prize. Contrast this with Table 1 showing the number of highly cited researchers and Nobel laureates in selected small developed nations and one can determine the strategic challenge confronting governments, science and education ministers from small nations with top 20 aspirations. Table 1 also shows that only six of the 14 leading small nations have sufficient numbers of Highly Cited researchers employed in their entire nation (universities and other research institutions) to challenge the University of Tokyo at number 20 on the SJTU list. Only Sweden, Switzerland and Austria have developed Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil 73 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W evidence in support of Australia’s policy direction to enough Nobel laureates to come close to challenging support a world-class university sector. John Hopkins University at no. 19. Even an amalgamaExamples which illustrate the third point include: tion of leading universities in each of the 14 nations to • Of Switzerland’s 115 Hi-Cis (1.8 per cent of world form one single global contender would only see the Hi-Cis), 19 of these are in physics which is 6.2 per ‘international’ university systems of Sweden, Switzercent of world Hi-Cis in the field. land, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark and Austria • Of Israel’s 47 Hi-Cis, 42 per cent are in computer scienter the top 20 (Sheil, 2007). ence and mathematics. There are several possible explanations of the ina• Ireland has eight Hi-Cis, six of whom are in agriculbility of small nations to attract the necessary human tural sciences. capital to develop top 20 elite research universities. • Nearly half of New Zealand’s Hi-Cis are in pharmaFollow-up areas for further study might be geography cology. and perceived isolation, national research orientation, Similar concentrations of highly cited researchers are access to international research networks, institutional found in other small nations such as Belgium (microbudget arrangements, and access to external research biology), Finland (ecology funding sources. and environment), Sweden Exploratory analysis sugThe size factor works against the (neuroscience and agriculgests that size does matter emergence of global research universities tural sciences), Norway (population and GDP) of the highest calibre but strengthens the (ecology and environment for small and developing argument in favour of developing areas of and plant and animal scinations when seeking to national focus. ences) and Australia (plant attract the best academic and animal sciences and talent and that there is a agricultural sciences). clustering effect of talent While this indicates that highly cited scientists are within disciplines. The size factor works against the more likely to be attracted by the presence of others emergence of global research universities of the highin their field, it should be pointed out that several small est calibre but strengthens the argument in favour of nations display more balanced spreads of Hi-Cis, such developing areas of national focus. as the Netherlands and Denmark. This evidence highlights the point that most nations, especially smaller Size does matter when attracting Highly ones, have a far better chance of achieving top 10 Cited researchers status in a targeted disciplinary area than of creating a world-leading university. There are approximately 6,950 Highly Cited researchers in the world, as defined by Thomson Scientific – these are the top 1per cent of citation ‘superstars’ Beyond rankings – university systems, worldwide. In preparing this paper, an analysis of classifications and benchmarking Hi-Ci performance in small nations has led to three conclusions: Two major university systems rankings emerged in 1. There is a positive correlation between the number 2008 – the QS SAFE National System Strength Rankof Hi-Ci researchers and the gross domestic product ings and the Lisbon Council University Systems Rankof that nation. ing (Ederer et.al., 2008). The QS SAFE rankings rely 2. On this basis small nations are competitive in on existing results for individual institutions to evaluproducing, attracting and retaining highly cited ate 40 national higher education systems. The Lisbon researchers. Council exercise examined and ranked 17 OECD 3. A high degree of concentration of highly cited nations based on six criteria: inclusiveness; access; researchers exists in small nations. effectiveness; attractiveness; age range; and responIt is worth noting that Highly Cited researchers are siveness. This ranking is unique in that it attempts to found in 20 of Australia’s 39 universities – correspondascertain how national systems are ‘coping with the ing to midpoint between the number of Australian economic and social challenges of the 21st century universities positioned on the SJTU rankings (17) and knowledge-based society.’ The two rankings produce the Times HE-QS rankings (23). This provides further divergent results, which is hardly surprising given the 74 Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V choice of indicators. Like institutional rankings, the systems rankings have defaulted to the one-size-fitsall approach. Higher education researchers in Australia, notably Marginson (2008), have proposed that comparisons can be rendered more compatible with mission diversity by using a system of classification similar to that being developed in the European Union. While there is no perfect means of assessing the relative performance of university systems, better benchmarking, better profiling and trend analysis provide one way of understanding and breaking away from the one-dimensional vice of world university rankings. This would allow for the emergence of much more nuanced national and institutional strategies, provision of better information to stakeholders and appreciation of the system-wide dimensions. While we are all aware of what the gold standard is, there is a distinct lack of understanding of best practice and strategies being employed at all tiers within our respective university systems. How do we define excellence in a university that is only 10, 25 or 50 years old for example? What is the yardstick for excellence? It might be that universities formed in the period of higher education expansion during the late 1950s and 1960s might be more interested in what successful strategies are being adopted by others in that band such as Macquarie (Australia), Umeå (Sweden), Tromsö (Norway), Southern Denmark (Denmark), Simon Fraser (Canada), Ben Gurion (Israel), and East Anglia and Sussex (UK). They might also be interested in ‘breakthrough’ strategies of universities such as Warwick that have achieved beyond expectations over time. This solution entails better systems of university classification and with it better profiling and benchmarking across systems, using relative indicators, encompassing institutions at all points within the system – not just the flagships. Profiling will create a more sophisticated understanding of the range of available approaches available nationally and institutionally. Then we can begin to address some interesting strategic dilemmas. For example, what differentiated structures and organisational arrangements, missions, and supporting strategies are required at various points within our university systems? What expectations should be placed on institutions at various stages of development in their research performance, learning experiences and vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W outcomes, community engagement activity, commercialisation and internationalisation? What investment is required to produce ‘step change’ and lift universities from all tiers to the next stage of development? What are the optimal levels and mixes of expenditure (government and private), regulation and educational provision needed to ensure that each institution meets its unique mission? Policy makers might also consider programmes to encourage leading national universities to become members of global partnerships of elite, research intensive universities. These groups include IARU (International Association of Research Universities), Universitas 21, Worldwide Universities Network, and LERU (League of European Research Universities), and ensure that national programmes exist to enable universities at all tiers to extend their international collaborations and benchmarking activity. Australia – moving in the right direction Over the past two years, the Australian Government has laid the groundwork for sweeping changes to Australian higher education, which will allow for systemwide revitalisation. The key initiatives for distributing the benefits across the system include: • Establishment of an $11 billion Education Investment Fund with dividends from 2009. • Distribution to all universities of $1 billion Better Universities Renewal Fund in 2008 and 2009. • Establishment of 1,000 Fellowships for recruitment and retention of early to mid-career researchers. • Doubling of Australian Postgraduate Scholarships from 4,800 to 9,600 by 2012. • Major new funding in the form of a Sustainable Research Excellence initiative to improve support for the indirect costs of research. • The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative, using a combination of metrics and peer review, to fund research excellence wherever it is found, and to identify Australia’s national capability in 157 Fields of Research, based on world benchmarks. Tightening of university accreditation requirements will ensure that the Minister’s promise is fulfilled – a world-class education wherever a student is enrolled. The defining feature of these initiatives is that they are directed to the entire sector and that there is no longer any explicit strategy of developing elite, flagship institutions to serve as a beacon for the entire system. Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil 75 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Conclusion higher education institutions in England, Report to HEFCE by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, Open University and Hobsons Research, April 2008. There is no question that world university rankings have delivered the brutal truth to governments and university planners. While these have drawn criticisms of their method, excellent universities welcome the opportunity to benchmark with world leaders and if rankings become too ‘neutral’ they might fail to continue delivering the brutal truth. The choice for governments is to be a servant to the vagaries of university rankings or have the confidence to set their own agenda and move beyond rankings. Focusing on world class systems is one alternative – there might be others. The policies and programmes now in place in Australia will result in better infrastructure across the system and will improve Australia’s overall teaching and research performance levels. We can be quite certain that while Australia will not develop a top 20 SJTU contender any time soon, it will continue to perform well as a world class university system protecting its international reputation and attractiveness as a destination of choice for international students and researchers and as an efficient supplier of an educated nation and a skilled workforce. Liu, N C 2009, ‘The Story of Academic Rankings’, International Higher Education, Number 54, Winter 2009. Marginson, S 2008, ‘Globalisation, national development and university rankings’, University ranking: Global trends and comparative perspectives, International Symposium, 12-13 November 2008, VNU Headquarters, Hanoi, Vietnam. Saisana M & D’Hombres B 2008, ‘Higher Education Rankings: Robustness Issues and Critical Assessment’, JRC Scientific and Technical Reports 23487 EN. Salmi, J & Saroyan, A 2007, ‘League tables as policy instruments: uses and misuses’, Higher Education Management and Policy, 19(2), 24-62 Shanghai Ranking Consultancy 2009, Academic ranking of world universities. Accessed 4 November 2009 at <http://www.arwu.org> Sheil, T 2007, ‘Implications of world university rankings for national and institutional research strategy of small developed nations’, 2nd International Conference on World-Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 31 October 31–3 November. Slattery, L 2009, ‘Let’s get more competitive’, The Australian, 21 January. Sowter, B 2008, ‘World University Rankings: Beneath the Surface’, 4th QS-Apple Leaders in Education Conference, Seoul, 8 July. Strategy Policy and Research in Education Limited 2009, The Nature of International Education in Australian Universities and its Benefits, report prepared for Universities Australia. Usher, A 2006, ‘Can our schools become world-class?’, Globe and Mail Update, October 30. Accessed 12 December 2009 at <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/ archives/article852033.ece> Yao L, Whalley J, Zhang, S & Zhao, X 2008, The Higher educational Transformation of China and its Global Implications, NBER Working paper No. 13849, March. Tony Sheil is Associate Director, Research Policy at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia References Altbach, P 2008, ‘The “global market” bubble”, Times Higher Education, 14 February. ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2008, International Trade in Services by Country, by State, and by Detailed Services Category, Financial Year 20072008 (5368.0.55.003) Birnbaum, R 2007, ‘No world-class university left behind’, International Higher Education, Number 47, Spring. Bradley, D, Noonan, P, Nugent, H & Scales, B 2008, Review of Australian Higher Education, Canberra, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Chubb, I, 2008, ‘VC on the Bradley review: Bases are covered’, ANU News, 17 December 2008. Accessed on 12 December 2009 at <http://news.anu.edu. au/?p=892> Ederer, P, Schuller, P & Willms, S 2008, University Systems Rankings: Citizens and Society in the Age of Knowledge, The Lisbon Council Policy Brief. Gillard, J 2008, Australian Broadcasting Commission, Radio National interview transcript, Wednesday 20 February. Group of Eight universities background paper 2008, The international tendency to concentrate research capability, Accessed on 12 December at <http://www. go8.edu.au> HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) 2008, Counting what is measured or measuring what counts? League tables and their impact on 76 Moving beyond university rankings: developing a world class university system in Australia, Tony Sheil vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Run that sexy motto by me again Joseph Gora Disaffected academic at one of Australia’s ‘leading’ universities Long ago, as a pompous sociology undergraduate The other day I was watching one of my burnt out aca(I’m now a pretentious purveyor of anti–Latin script), demic colleagues on TV waxing lyrical about an Afro– I made copious use of Latin phraseology – all in a American, anti–slavery activist. I turned to my lounge vain attempt to appear really smart, the essential Renlizard partner and inquired: ‘Wikipedia’? ‘I reckon’, she aissance scholar. You’ll be familiar with all the drivel grunted. Look, I’m no intellectual snob, but if Wikithat punctuated my hapless/hopeless essays: de facto, pedia is good enough for one of our allegedly plagiaa priori, ad absurdum, in situ, per se, prima facie, rism–prone Vice-Chancellors (or more likely, one of his ultra vires, etc, etc. Nowadays Latin phrases make me alleged research assistants) then it’s good enough for think about Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Roman orgies me – which brings me to the question of university (OK, I can live with that one), Catholic masses (I defimottos. nitely can’t with that one), and oak panelled courts of What is a motto? Wonderful Wiki says, ‘A motto (Itallaw (speaks for itself). But hey, Latin does impress the ian for pledge, sentence; plural: motti) is a phrase impressionable, and let’s face it; there are a lot of us out meant to formally describe the general motivation or there. Used judiciously, and intention of a social group steering carefully between or organisation. A motto As temples of higher learning, universities the nerdy–pretentious and may be in any language, but are particularly partial to Latin try–hard, Latin has enorLatin is the most used’. phraseology. The more obscure the phrase, mous seductive potenLatin? Oh, good! Latin is the better. tial, sometimes leading to sexy. Latin is fun. It’s the litsexual congress with recipierary equivalent of Viagra, ent listeners. So powerful is its symbolic imagery that without the erection, or perhaps with one (sorry to only a few emissions can intoxicate the unsuspecting be so obsc(a)ena – obscene, lewd). Personally, I get subject. Take these select little morsels that occasionreally (neo–sexually) excited by those weighty scholally trip off the tongue: Ave Caesar, morituri te salarly tomes which contain intermittent, italicised Latin utant (Hail Caesar, those who are about to die salute phrases. They seem to crackle through the text like you!), Nemo me impune lacessit (No-one provokes static electricity. In fact, I’ve just read a short, sexy little me with impunity) and Post coitum omne animal romp titled The Private Lives of Roman Emperors triste (After coition every animal is sad). But these are (‘ancient history with all the boring bits taken out’) prudish phrases when compared to the long tradition (Blond 2008) and it’s full of Latinesque – a veritable of Latin profanity – and its here that Latin is at its most literary orgy choreographed by one of England’s leadinteresting. The Romans and later Latin speakers were ing historians. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Run that sexy motto by me again, Joseph Gora 77 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V apparently obsessed by sex and associated bodily functions and wrote about such matters at length (excuse the pun) and in considerable detail. But I digress. As temples of higher learning, universities are particularly partial to Latin phraseology. The more obscure the phrase, the better. A careful sprinkling of these antiquated lexical items can spice up the dreariest of undergraduate essays. Latin froth can also convey a potent image of lofty intellectualism that emboldens vacuous claims to ‘higher education’ and ‘excellence’.The motto is indeed a wonderful window to the university’s soul. It is what Oscar Wilde might have referred to as the triumph of hope over experience. Here are a few typical examples of mottos that are emblazoned on university coats of arms replete with lions, horses on hind legs, shields, crossed swords and the like. • RMIT: ‘Perita manus mens exculta’ (Skilled hands and cultured minds) – a degree in juggling? • University of New England: ‘Veritatis studium prosequi’ (To pursue the study of truth)’ – post–modernists beware! • UNSW: ‘Manu et mente’ (With hand and mind) – more juggling! • University of Southern Queensland: ‘Per studia mens nova’ (Through study the mind is transformed) – sometimes into mush. And in the ‘not quite Latin’ category we have • La Trobe: ‘Qui cherche trouve’ (French, je pense) (Whoever seeks shall find) – find what? • Monash: ‘Ancora imparo’ (Italian) (I am still learning) – a reference perhaps to life long learning? The University of Sydney’s motto, ‘Sidere mens eadem mutato’ is the subject of some pompous conjecture on its website, but is said to mean ‘The constellation is changed, the disposition is the same’. Your guess is as good as mine. Mottos are of course only part of the paraphernalia that aspires to the other–worldly elitism of today’s universities. There are many other promotional emissions to take into account, like mission/vision/value statements. These range from the bland and inoffensive to the pompous and arrogant, to the utterly brazen and bizarre. Designed to seduce the prospective or graduating student into the misguided belief that he or she is part of a glorious, uninterrupted tradition that harks back to the earliest days of Oxford and Cambridge, these statements are potent myths that, in effect, conceal the realities of their institutions’ inner workings. Let’s take a few examples of what some universities 78 Run that sexy motto by me again, Joseph Gora E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W say about themselves. Flinders University offers a neat, dot pointed overview of its mission: • think • lead • learn • link. The dot points are never explained but are said to ‘inform our teaching, research and community engagement’. One would have thought that a smidgen of post–structural deconstruction might have helped us to decipher what these perky lexical treats actually mean. But no, the promotional folk at Flinders proceed to spell out their ‘Major Institutional Aims’. These are (wait for it!) to be: • ‘Known locally, nationally and internationally as a research university. • Recognised for our leadership position in higher education through establishing courses that are distinctive and relevant, and which meet national and international quality standards. • Acknowledged by students, graduates, employers, industry, the Australian Indigenous community, the public and our peers for excellence and innovation in teaching and in research. • Recognised nationally and internationally as an active contributor in the global higher education network. • Acknowledged as leading our peers in commitment and practice and in relation to equity, equal opportunity, and human relations, and for promoting the success and well–being of our students, our staff and our community. • A leader in the community, recognised for engaging and working with external communities and organisations to create significant mutual benefits. • A medium–sized university, with continued planned growth in activities and income’. The underlined are my emphases and reflect the weasel words that are common these days to many university mission/value/vision statements. La Trobe University’ vision statement is much more robust than many of its rivals: ‘La Trobe University will continue to enhance its profile nationally and internationally and will achieve wide recognition for delivering socially responsible, inclusive, relevant and radical learning, teaching and research’. ‘Radical’? This is an unusual word in the context of today’s innovative–creative–entrepreneurial factory–hubs.To be fair, I don’t think that the La Trobe PR vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W • Creates fulfilling experiences for all students based people had Karl Marx or Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in mind on the commitment of skilled and caring staff. when they cobbled this dreary ‘vision’ together. • Develops graduates who are positioned to meet the Macquarie University on the other hand is more challenges of a rapidly changing world. matter–of–fact in its mission statement: ‘To establish • Pursues world–class research, innovation and praca pervasive research culture across all areas of the tice in sustainable futures. University, and to achieve internationally and nation• Engages with communities, business and governally leading research in selected concentrations of ment through ongoing and mutually beneficial partresearch excellence, by maximising the institution’s nerships’. intellectual and physical resources and by maintaining Ho hum. What if I don’t want to be part of the gloa continuous improvement framework’.This statement balised, corporate, flexible, innovative and borderless will either leave you gasping for breath or in a state of world? terminal stupor. Its barrel–chested rhetoric does little OK, let’s try a different to invoke the Jungian spark tack. Are there any univerof life but does everything Ho hum. What if I don’t want to be part sities out there with a hint to induce deep sleep. of the globalised, corporate, flexible, of the good old 1960s? Are But for sheer blandness innovative and borderless world? there any seats of higher UNSW takes the biscuit: learning which proclaim ‘By providing an excellent passion and commitment to achieving social justice educational experience and by achieving excellence and human rights? Are there universities which bellow in research, international engagement and interaction the Socratian virtues of vigorous questioning, debate with the community UNSW will be an international uniand argumentation for their own sake? Are there any versity of outstanding quality’.This reminds me of those mission/value/vision statements that do not reek of floral dresses worn by the docile subjects in The Stepthe values of battery farm corporatism? ford Wives, or walls painted in magnolia, or worse, over– In an effort to provide a corrective to all this nonboiled cabbage and limp lettuce. Clearly, the PR gurus at sense, I will suggest the following for a new university UNSW need to smoke some large joints laced with high to be located in the dope–smoking heart of Nimbin, grade hash oil or consider waking to the ‘new reality’ NSW: that is the cut–throat higher education system. University of the Unreal World Equally as boring is the mission statement of UniverMission statement sity of South Australia: ‘UniSA educates professionals and citizens to the highest standards; creates and disseminates knowledge; and engages with our communities to address the major issues of our time’. It might be me, but does this fill you with the desire to look up courses in golf at the University of Las Vegas (I’m guessing!) or surfing at the one–and–only Southern Cross University (I’m serious!). There must be one statement out there that fills one with a passion for learning. Let’s go to that citadel of pedagogical excellence, and host to one of Australia’s finest Zen gardens: Toowoomba’s University of Southern Queensland. ‘Our mission’, declares its florid website, is ‘to enable broad participation in higher education and to make significant contributions to research and community development’. What a turn on! ‘This’, it continues,‘will be achieved through maintaining USQ as a viable enterprise that: • Offers quality professional education opportunities that are accessible, flexible and borderless. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Our mission is to have serious fun, entertainment and passionate debate/argument/discussion about current social, economic, cultural and political arrangements. We want to unscramble knowledge claims and build a place of learning that is more than simply gaining grades for an eventual career in the corporate sector. Our aim is to act on our ideas to create a better, more peaceful, sustainable world in which people have the right to the basics of life and where equality means something. Our university seeks to dissolve power differences, contest elitism, and encourage respect and diversity within a framework of rights and justice. If you want to develop job–ready, corporate graduate attributes then go to any other Australian university. We are the University of the Unreal World!! Postscript Since researching for this article – shoddily, I’ll admit – I have come across a statement which inspired something more than the usual stupor. So impressed was I Run that sexy motto by me again, Joseph Gora 79 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W that I have nominated James Cook University for the Most Seductive Mission Statement Award for 2009. Under ‘Our intent’ JCU seeks to create: ‘A brighter future for life in the tropics, world–wide’. You can’t argue with that! Sun, surf and beaches come to mind. Amid all the usual claptrap, the statement claims to encourage ‘intellectual curiosity’ and ‘to inspire [students] to make a difference in their fields of endeavour and in their communities’. Other affirmations state that: ‘We recognise that knowledge has the power to change lives’ and, topically, ‘that a sustainable environment is central to our lives and our work’.There’s even a reference to ‘passion for learning’! This is so refreshing when compared to that pallid corporate dross that makes up most university mission statements. Whether or not JCU actually delivers on its lofty promises is beside the point – the rhetoric is great! And then there’s the University of Melbourne’s vision statement…Zzzzzzzzzz. Joseph Gora is an enigma wrapped up in a riddle. It is rumoured that he once taught at a regional university somewhere in Australia. References Blond, A 2008, A Brief History of the Private Lives of the Roman Emperors, Constable and Robinson, London ISBN: 9781845297190 80 Run that sexy motto by me again, Joseph Gora vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W REVIEWS School? Choice! School Choice – How parents negotiate the new school market in Australia by Craig Campbell, Helen Proctor and Geoffrey Sherington. Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW, Australia, 2009. ISBN 978-1-741-75656-2 Review by Georgina Tsolidis In Chapter Two we are presented with an historiSchool choice is an increasingly vexed issue in Auscal account of Australia’s school markets beginning in tralia and elsewhere. The authors tackle this topic 1805, with a small number of free venture schools. By through an exploration of middle class parents’ anxithe mid 1800s, elite schools such as Geelong Grameties and aspirations. They frame their exploration mar were established in the mould of Eton and Rugby using Pusey’s argument about economic rationalism and according to the authors, these traditions coupled and neo-liberalism. Within the middle class there with the ideology of character formation through such are those who bemoan the whittling down of the schooling still exert enormous influence in the market. public sector and those who welcome the changes, The authors describe the market of merit and performincluding globalisation, and see these as providing ance, which evolved from such schools as Melbourne opportunity. High School, the ideal of secondary schooling for all The study has Sydney as its focus and draws on and culminate the overview with the free market, census, survey and interview data. Census material is taking hold by 2005. examined in order to explore comparative patterns of In Chapter Three the authors analyse the census choice between 1976 (argued as one of the last census data and provide insights into changes which have years prior to neo-liberal education policy) and 2001 occurred between 1976 and 2001, which have explanwhen the markets and choice became entrenched. atory potential for changes The survey was of middle in school destination. They class families and was used The survey was of middle class families identify the decline in the to establish some of the and was used to establish some of the manufacturing industry and thinking behind how parthinking behind how parents make choices. women’s workforce particients make choices. InterInterviews were conducted with parents pation as critical. Both these views were conducted who had just made choices and were point to the decline of the with parents who had just industrial urban working made choices and were intended to get behind their decisionclass, which it is argued, is intended to get behind making. most likely to support Govtheir decision-making. ernment schooling. Dual The first chapter of income families and work in service and government the book provides an overview of the relationship sectors produces a middle class sensibility and the between school choice and the middle class. Given capacity to fulfil it through other forms of schooling. the authors seeks to complicate the constitution of The first three chapters of the book constitute Part ‘middle class’ there is a somewhat detailed explicaOne – The Middle Class and the Market. Part Two of tion of various types – the old, the new, the Catholic, the book is entitled How Middle-Class Families Choose the cosmopolitan, the first generation, the self-made Schools. In Chapters Four to Eight the authors provide and the marginal middle classes. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 School? Choice!, Review by Georgina Tsolidis 81 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V insights into parents’ thinking about school choice. Each of these chapters’ titles signals key issues including ‘Family Traditions’, ‘Selective Schools’, ‘Localities and Choice’,‘People Like Us’ and ‘Religious and Secular Values’. While there were close to one and half thousand questionnaires returned and sixty-three interviews conducted, the authors state clearly that the latter are the basis for the book. In this sense, Part One functions as context setting for Part Two. In Part Two we are introduced to people and the thinking behind their choices. The interviews are spliced between these chapters and there is a tentative attempt to sustain the various types of middle class described in Part One through the discussion. I have to admit that for me, a failure to do this systematically does not detract from the book. I found that on the occasions various interviewees were given labels such as ‘cosmopolitan’ or ‘self-made’ middle class, I found myself flinching. ‘We prefer to see many of these parents as part of a self-made middle class, created from the changes of the past two decades, which have favoured the growth of private business, large and small’ (p 94). There is an unselfconscious authority with which these people’s lives are interpreted in the book. There is a strong sense that the framework has been established, the people characterised and the quotes selected to illustrate the overall argument. This is not immediately recognisable as ‘bottom-up’ research. Still it’s not set up to be research that grows its analysis out of the interviewees’ perspectives and as such the reader is left to appreciate what is being done on other terms.The book closes with a chapter where the future is discussed.This is carried out at two levels; the 82 School? Choice!, Review by Georgina Tsolidis E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W future of children and the future of comprehensive Government schooling. The argument is made that middle class parents are anxious about their children’s place in the labour market and as a result become anxious about their schooling.This is a new type of parent, aggressive in their pursuit of schools they understand will facilitate their aspirations for their children. This is both cause and result of a public sector that is no longer understood as meeting the needs of such families. The book finishes by posing two questions relating to the impact of a regime of choice on equitable education provision and whether the plethora of taxsupported schools and school systems is sustainable. To an important extent the character of schooling in Australia is responsive to place. This is a study of Sydney. It is also an exploration of school choice, as it is interpreted by the middle class, which has a strong association with education markets, having either the money or the cultural means of ‘up classing’. What can the middle class of Sydney tell us about the impact of markets on schooling more generally? I would argue – a fair bit. The authors build a case carefully and make it accessible through clear and concise expression and logic. They raise important issues and provide significant insights into the dilemmas ordinary Australian families are facing in the attempt to provide for their children. These are heart-felt dilemmas and the onerous responsibility so many parents feel, is evoked through their words in this analysis. These words are coupled with census data and an historical overview, both providing a strong framework and context. Georgina Tsolidis is professor of education at the University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W All we are saying... Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations by James Page (with a foreword by Koïchiro Matsuura) Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, USA 2008. SBN 978-1-59311-880-1 Review by Patricia Kerslake Beginning with all the reasons why peace education If this monograph was a piece of music, it would be the is problematic – everyone is so passionate about the Andante from Elvira Madrigan. From the very beginconcept of peace that nobody is yet able to articulate ning, James Page sets out to deliver to us everything he a clear strategy for its achievement – Page lays out the knows about the underpinnings of ethical philosophy structure of the problem of peace education by examin a sedate and measured tempo.‘Yes,’ he says,‘the cauining current presumptions, limitations and prejudices tious tone is deliberate’ (p. xvi, preface), and spends while identifying key contributors in each of five major the next 200-odd pages being true to his word as he ethical traditions. The format of the text is a little unuobserves the ebb and flow of five ethical traditions. sual in that his subject material is styled into a report Reading Page’s work, there is a sense that he is rather than a monograph – but Pace’s subheadings are addressing the General Assembly of the UN, most of helpful in taking the reader along a most conscientious whose members of course, unlike Page’s readers, benpathway through the advantages and disadvantages of efit from the dynamism and concision of concurrent a variety of philosophical translation. Every thought, schools. problem, concept and idea ...peace education is problematic – Chapter Two begins is painstakingly introduced, everyone is so passionate about the with a discussion of the delineated and discussed concept of peace that nobody is yet implicit nature and foundbefore being moved careable to articulate a clear strategy for its ing principles of Virtue fully to one side in order that achievement Ethics. Page examines subsequent ideas have room each major practice (and to appear on the rostrum. practitioner) of the form, Possibly this feeling of indiembracing viewpoints as varied as Thomas Aquinas, rect iteration is the inescapable echo of a text born of Hume, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The author a doctoral thesis, or perhaps it rises from Page’s expethen provides an overview of the strengths and weakrience working at the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris. nesses of the form in the detached manner of scholarly Whatever the reason, this book provides a meticulous, dissertation, admitting that though virtue ethics reinif sometimes ponderous discussion of each major ethiforce the value of personal integrity, it is also possible cal concept arising since Aristotle’s Golden Mean. that such an ideology ‘can be easily used to support Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, violence.’ (p. 59). Page makes reference to the work of offers a brief foreword in which he confirms Page such ethicists as Rosalind Hursthouse (and specifically writes a ‘timely exposition of what might be argued her work On Virtue Ethics, 1999), and Phillipa Foot, to be a philosophy of peace education,’ (p. xix, foreone of the founders of modern virtue ethics. word), which is immediately followed in Chapter One Chapters Three, Four and Five each take a respective by Page’s statement that peace education really has no look at the potentialities and pitfalls of using any of clear philosophy. This suggests a certain dichotomy of the main ethical schools of thought in peace educaperception until one actually comprehends that Page tion, including the potentially ‘moral doctrine’ (p. 61) is arguing for a multiplicity of potential philosophies of Consequentialist Ethics; the religious and social rather than for a single, deterministic principle. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 All we are saying..., Review by Patricia Kerslake 83 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W problem of peace education? Does the connection contingencies of Conservative Political Ethics which between peace education and critical realism deserve has an interesting observation of the risk-taking nature further investigation? By taking an objective stance, of the decision to go to war (p. 103). This analysis is Page is able to ask objective questions – a seemingly closely followed by a discussion of the revival of Aesimpossible task in the arena of peace discussion. He thetic Ethics which naturally looks at postclassical asks the reader to consider the need for an holistic philosophers such as Hume and Smith, as well as Kanand integrative approach to the solution and provision tian anti-aesthetics. In these chapters, Page reads John of peace education, suggesting that ‘any single ethical Stuart Mill’s moral worth of Utilitarianism, and treads foundation for peace edusoftly around the devolucation must be regarded as tion of Karl Marx’s writings, By taking an objective stance, Page is able incomplete,’ (p. 188). while giving a quick nod to to ask objective questions – a seemingly This book is written latter-day philosophers such impossible task in the arena of peace for scholars and policyas Peter Ackerman and Jack discussion. makers of ethical behavDuVall in the form of noniour who share a specific violent conflict resolution. focus on social attitudes of The final form of ethical peace and peace-making. The author does not waste philosophy considered by Page in Chapter Six is the time lamenting that, as a species, we have a spectacemergence of the so-called ‘care ethics’ in the 1980s, ularly poor record in this area, but looks to provide which is deeply entangled with feminist theory and a basis for a possible future methodology of peace which takes a sideways look to see if ‘feminine’ is a inculcation as a form of pedagogy.This is not a book of matter of biology or socially constructed gender roles. casual examination, but offers a dispassionate assessThis form of ethical thought is particularly significant in ment of the ethical tools humanity might use to begin that it is the only ideology deliberately viewed through fixing the overwhelming problems of violence, cona paradigm of gender rather than the more established flict and global aggression. frames of politics or religion. Page discusses the work of noted feminist Alison Jagger whose contribution to Patricia Kerslake in an Adjunct Research Fellow of CQUnithe formulation of Care Ethics ranges from moral episversity’s Intercultural Education Research Institute and a temology to gendering in global justice. Senior Lecturer in Arts and Communications at CQUniverPage concludes his text with a selection of metasity’s Melbourne Campus. physical considerations. How does one frame the 84 All we are saying..., Review by Patricia Kerslake vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Studied success Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities by William G Bowen, Matthew M Chingos & Michael S McPherson Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford, 2009. ISBN 978-0-691-13748-3 Review by Patricia Kerslake authors attribute no value judgements whatsoever This book has been written for a highly specialised to these divisions, they are simply a means of measgroup – educational policy-makers in USA’s higher urement, transparently detached and quite open in education sector. It is not couched in terms sympadiscussing the US ‘skills slowdown’ (p. 1) which introthetic to any other Venn subset, nor does it offer apoloduces the reader to the need for such research. Recent gies for its sharp and unforgiving focus. Indeed, when trends in US educational attainment suggest problems examined through the appropriate lens, a lack of such on the horizon if reasonable human capital is to be focus would be entirely detrimental to the usefulness maintained or improved, and some form of re-estabof the contents. And the information in this book is lishment is vital. But if we cannot pinpoint the flaws in most definitely intended for use. Claiming to be for an apparatus accurately, how can we possibly attempt ‘the generalist as well as the specialist’ (preface, xii), a restructure? By looking at the successes and failings is probably the authors’ only disingenuity since the of the two main ‘sensitivity groups’ of educational information in this publication is not designed for genconfiguration, the authors begin their identification of eralists although it may be interrogated in the same weakness in the US pedamanner as a database. gogical system. Essentially, this tome ...this tome examines US higher education Chapters Two, Three and examines US higher edustudent failure at a fractal iteration level, Four examine the achievecation student failure at a drilling down into data sets so complex ment of students in these fractal iteration level, drilland dense as to make them impervious to sample institutions at baching down into data sets so normal discourse elor (undergraduate) levels, complex and dense as to probing such differences as make them impervious to gender, race, demography normal discourse. Levels and colour. Seeing the terms ‘white male, black male, of student variance are discussed along a microscopic Hispanic male’ (p. 30) is slightly shocking when read plane where everything becomes a unit and a statisoutside a society where ethnic divide carries such tic. There are no people in this book, yet it concerns social and economic significance. It is also interesting millions. When the American Recovery and Reinvestto note the authors’ maintenance of ‘male’ as a yardment Act (ARRA) was signed into law by President stick of measurement in this research, especially as Obama on 17 February 2009, the issue of increasing females have outnumbered males at university in the numbers of students succeeding at university while US since the 1980s. However, based on an examination even larger numbers fail, is no longer a marginal one. of this type of student variance, collected data show The new educational focus in the USA signals a phase nearly 50 per cent of student dropout (both male and of economic and social change, and change demands female) happens at the second year in State institutions new policies. This text is a higher-education policybut much less at the selective, ‘flagship’ organisations. maker’s almanac. Here begins a detailed comparison of why students in Chapter One begins the exploration of student failflagship universities are likely to succeed (regardless ure by dividing the scene of research into flagship of echelon), and why students situated in basic State (elite) universities and state (basic) institutions. The vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 Studied success, Review by Patricia Kerslake 85 A U S T R A L I A N U N I facilities are far more likely to fail. It becomes clear that if your parents did not go to college, if you attended an average secondary school and if you enrol in a state facility for undergraduate study, you are more likely to fail than your privileged brethren are. Bowen et al. provide empirical proof of just how severe is this educational delineation in real terms. For a nation like the USA, the fact of such disparity is manifestly unacceptable. President Obama has stated on numerous occasions that in an economy where the most valuable skill is your knowledge, a good education is no longer an optional extra. The growing skills shortage caused (in part) by aging Boomers is beginning to soften industrialised economic systems on a global level, but it seems the US is ahead of the pack in looking for an answer to a future dilemma. America is not alone in perceiving this danger, and while this book is a direct response to the anticipated needs of its own educational policy-planners, it also serves as a research model for other countries who face a major skills shift, and who may choose to focus on education as part of the solution. Chapters Five to Ten examine such aspects of student failure as ‘undermatching’, where high schools are not educating their students to the level required by the flagship schools. This undermatching also considers socio-economic status (SES) and forms of assessment – the SATs of the future may be vastly different from those of today. Even students who transfer between public and flagship universities seem to do better than those who spend their entire undergraduate years in the State system – surely this speaks volumes to urban planners as well as US politicians of all convictions? 86 Studied success, Review by Patricia Kerslake V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Financial aid and the rising cost of higher education cannot be dismissed when the US is facing such a threat to its global economic superiority, especially when massive cultural and educational developments are taking place within its economic competitors, China and India. Chapter Ten ends with the somewhat unhelpful truism that ‘the correlation between graduate rates and selectivity is extremely high’ (p. 193).The final two chapters look at ways to reduce disparities in achievement through manipulation of SES and underrepresented minorities, as well as offering an analysis of the obvious disadvantages experienced by students from certain ethnic groups. This book has been researched and written by experts for experts. It is not a simple or comfortable read, nor was it ever intended to be. Yet by its very complexity, it offers confidence in the data it explores and in the conclusions that appear inevitable from its extrapolated reasoning. It is no longer sufficient for us to get our children into higher education. It is imperative to get them across the line in terms of achievement and ultimate ability. Of the five main challenges (pp. 223-5) identified in this book, probably the greatest is that of planning for the future. Patricia Kerslake in an Adjunct Research Fellow of CQUniversity’s Intercultural Education Research Institute and a Senior Lecturer in Arts and Communications at CQUniversity’s Melbourne Campus. vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Down and out in London and Paris (and Helsinki and Berlin… Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe. A joint international project coordinated by the Higher Education Information System (HIS), Germany by Dominic Orr (ed.), Klaus Schnitzer and Edgar Frackmann www.eurostudent.eu. ISBN 978-7639-3662-5 (190pp) ….and Oslo) Student Finance in a Welfare State: Effects of reducing economic barriers to higher education in Norway by Vibeke Opheim A dissertation for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) in Sociology. University of Oslo, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, 2008. ISSN 1504-3991 Reviews by Ian R Dobson Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe is not for everyone, but it is a must for anyone interested in comparative studies of student support, welfare and wellbeing.The EUROSTUDENT project and this, the third report, is described in the introduction: ‘The purpose of this report is to provide comparative data on the so-called ‘social dimension’ of higher education in Europe. It is the product of a network of academics and representatives of ministries responsible for higher education in twentythree countries…All participants of the project are interested in providing data on various aspects of students’ living and studying conditions in order to understand better the national situation and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their respective frameworks in international comparison with a view to maintaining or improving effectiveness’ (p. 13). vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 It is always difficult to produce international comparisons. The same word in one language can mean something subtly different in another, so some comparisons based on national statistics can lead to head-scratching results. EUROSTUDENT has minimised the risks that flow from comparisons of the similar with meticulous data element dictionaries and methodology. Eurostudent III was the product of a decentralised network, but questionnaires distributed in all 23 countries contained 31 core questions and definitions and guidelines on methodology were provided to national contact officers. Furthermore, each country which participates is represented by researchers and the respective department of education (or science, research, etc.), which also funds the national survey. These national coordinators are also asked to provide more in-depth information for use in the so-called Down and out in London and Paris (and Helsinki and Berlin…and Oslo), Reviews by Ian R Dobson 87 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W For each of the eight main areas, the authors have National Profiles, which are available online on the considered the state of development, the main chalproject website. The authors caution readers on ‘overlenges and possible policy directions. This book is a interpretation’ of the comparative analysis and warn fine piece of work! that the social dimension of higher education is ‘tied Moving right along, Student Finance in a Welfare to multifarious national issues’ (p. 15). State also relates to student welfare in Europe. It is a The report covers a range of areas, and provides key doctoral thesis comprising new and previously pubfindings on each.There are chapters on demographics, lished work on student finances in Norway. As is the access, social make-up, accommodation, funding and case in several European countries, PhDs in Norway state assistance, living expenses and spending, student are typeset and published as books, and therefore employment and time budget and internationalism become reasonably accessible to researchers or others and mobility. With apologies for paraphrasing, here are interested in the research topic. a few key facts, to whet the appetite: The benefit of work such as this is that it provides • The average age of students varies from 21 to 27 in researchers with analyses of systems or parts of sysdifferent countries, and of first year students from tems at a level of detail that is unlikely to be available 19 to 26.There are more female than male university in such a compact form elsewhere. In most instances, a students in the majority of countries that are party standard published book would need to be broader in to this project. The proportion of women in Latvian, scope than one written as Swedish and Slovenian a PhD dissertation thereby universities is close to The report covers a range of areas, and losing the benefit of fine two-thirds. provides key findings on each. There detail. Such is the case • Most students enter uniare chapters on demographics, access, with this work: about 85 versity via ‘traditional’ social make-up, accommodation, funding pages introduce, describe, pathways, and most stuand state assistance, living expenses and compare and analyse the dents in most countries Norwegian system and are enrolled full-time. spending, student employment and time recent changes to it, and The authors point out budget and internationalism and mobility. another 60 or so pages feathat although there are ture four journal articles relatively few part-time published in recent years. students in many countries, some students are forThe first two chapters introduce the Norwegian mally enrolled full-time but spend only some of their higher education and student welfare systems. Norwetime at study. Low socio-economic groups are undergian higher education has no tuition fees, a common represented in all countries, but with considerable arrangement in Scandinavian countries, but there is variation. an opportunity cost for full-time students associated • In most countries, the majority of students live in with attending a university. Further, the Norwegian private flats or lodgings, but national patterns vary education system avoids streaming in lower secondary considerably between that and living in the family levels, and provides options for access to post-secondhome or in student halls. Living at home, for examary education based on ‘non-formal’ qualifications. The ple, is the predominant student residence in Spain, student welfare system is universal, simple and transPortugal, Italy and Latvia, but almost non-existent in parent. The philosophy behind this is to increase uniFinland, Norway and Sweden. versity access by removing structural and economic • The distribution of student income varies between barriers. In relatively few pages, the author describes countries as to whether it comes from families, the the Norwegian system in such a way that readers can state or employment and accommodation is the quickly compare and contrast Norwegian policy and biggest single financial burden in the majority of practice with systems more familiar to them. countries. Student employment is frequent in all No higher education system, including Norway’s, countries. is immune from change. The author reports on the The concluding chapter examines policy consideratwo most recent reforms. The so-called ‘competence tions. This is no mean feat considering the vast array reform’ (1999) was instituted, inter alia, to increase of data on which Eurostudent III is based. This chaphigher education participation by mature-age stuter draws together the threads of the study very well. 88 Down and out in London and Paris (and Helsinki and Berlin…and Oslo), Reviews by Ian R Dobson vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V dents and to make higher education more flexible. More recently, ‘quality reform’ in 2003 was instituted to improve quality, including student progression and completion rates.This included changes to the student welfare system. The philosophy behind these changes was to increase university access by removing both structural and economic barriers. The Norwegian student welfare system is presented as being universal, simple and transparent. The third chapter considers the PhD’s theoretical backdrop and previous research that has been undertaken. The impact various theories based on social structures and/or rational action can have on student finance policy are considered. From a personal point of view, I can see how considering the theoretical background might provide a basis from which to start one’s thinking, I find myself more interested in ‘practice’ than ‘theory’. Therefore I found the discussions based around previous research on related topics to be of more interest. The previous research considered here (naturally) has its focus on Norway, with comparisons predominantly (but not exclusively) with the USA. The author notes the considerable differences between the higher education and student welfare systems in these two nations, and the consideration of the literature from these two countries provides an interesting counterpoint. The examination of the literature focuses particularly on social differences in the use of support, the situation after graduation and the transition to the labour market. Data for the PhD were drawn from national statistics (from Statistics Norway and the state education vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W loan fund) and surveys of students, graduates and households conducted by agencies such as Statistics Norway and NIFU STEP (the Norwegian institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education). A point Norway has in common with all Scandinavian countries is that strong central agencies (such as those mentioned above) are able to provide researchers with a wealth of data from which detailed social analysis can be undertaken. The fifth chapter provides a summary of the four published papers that make up part of the PhD and a discussion on the main findings of the study. A number of interesting results are identified in these papers, including the obvious importance of student finance schemes in breaking down economic barriers to higher education. The changes to the Norwegian student welfare system in 2003 improved access to student welfare, but the changes did not demonstrably improve efficiency, that is, reduce completion times and drop-out rates. The findings from this Norwegian study reinforce the influence of socioeconomic status and other social differences on students’ and graduates’ behaviour and perceptions. This book isn’t for the higher education generalist, but it would be very useful for anyone delving into the broad issues relating to student welfare, access and retention. As researchers, we tend to stick with familiar sources; a work such as this provides a less familiar source, but one that is capable of broadening our scope. Ian R Dobson is editor of the Australian Universities’ Review. Down and out in London and Paris (and Helsinki and Berlin…and Oslo), Reviews by Ian R Dobson 89 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W Just a bunch of rankers Mapping the Higher Education Landscape; Towards a European Classification of Higher Education, by Frans van Vught (ed.) Springer Dordrecht, 2009. ISBN 978-90-481-2248-6 Review by Leo Goedegebuure We all hate rankings yet we use them widely in our marketing – to the extent, of course, that our institution features in a particular ranking. We all know that they have methodological flaws and are but a narrow and often distorted representation of the complex realities in higher education, but if we move up it will be displayed prominently on our universities’ home page. To put it more bluntly, we bitch about rankings all the time but we all try to play the ranking game at the same time. And that to a large extent is due to the absence of a viable alternative. But perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Mapping the Higher Education Landscape is an attempt by Frans van Vught and his colleagues to lay the foundations for an approach that over time may evolve into a true alternative to the perverse Times ranking and the more objective, though heavily research dominated, Jiao Tong ranking, and a raft of others that are less well-known in Australia. The approach is based on the old notion that if quality if a multi-dimensional concept – and there aren’t many in our field who would disagree with this – then we need a multi-dimensional instrument to measure it. Van Vught has been quite consistent in this position throughout much of his work as a leading higher education policy researcher and whilst being vice-chancellor and subsequently policy advisor to Manuel Barosso, the president of the European Commission.This also earned him the title of ‘most influential person’ on higher education policy in the Benelux. So let’s start from the assumption that he knows what he is talking about and take it from there. The European Classification project, of which this book is the intermediate outcome, started in 2005 with the aim to develop an instrument that would be able to create ‘useful and effective transparency in the diversity of European higher education’. Thus, the ultimate objective of the exercise was to make sense out of the 90 Just a bunch of rankers, Review by Leo Goedegebuure overwhelming diversity that characterises the European Higher Education and Research Areas. In these there are more than 4,000 tertiary education institutions – no one actually precisely knows how many – that like in Australia primarily are judged by what they are called, not what they do. To redirect the focus on the ‘do’ part rather than the ‘calling’ part, the project set out to create a multi-dimensional, stakeholderdriven classification of institutions to maximise transparency whilst avoiding dysfunctional hierarchies. The book recounts the journey that the project team embarked on, presents the first version of the instrument (i.e. the classification) and gives some examples of how the classification can be used at both the European and the individual institutional level. In doing so, it provides for some fascinating reading. For those wanting to catch up on the concepts of diversity and differentiation Van Vught’s introductory chapter provides a useful summary. The same can be said for the subsequent chapter by Huisman and Van Vught which provides a historical overview of diversity in European higher education and the emergence of European policies in this area. There are few surprises here, but it is handy reference material. Van Damme then takes over the baton in an assessment of the Bologna process. His basic position is that convergence will remain its driving force but when combined with transparency can in fact create a favourable environment for institutional diversification. This, then, will need new tools for evidence-based transparency through which diversity can be made visible and comprehensible, which gets us to the classification instrument. Bartelse and Van Vught explain the rational for classification schemes in Chapter 4. Of course they illustrate this by referring to the best known international example – the US Carnegie Classification and touch upon the recent changes to this one that also move it towards a vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V multi-dimensional instrument. Following a discussion on design principles (such as multi-actor, multi-dimensional, non-hierarchical, relevant to all institutions, and parsimonious), they sketch the contours of the European classification, consisting of 14 dimensions and 32 indicators, which can be used to generate institutional profiles that reflect individual scores on these dimensions. Van der Wende and Westerheijden continue the case for a multi-dimensional approach by arguing the wellknown case against rankings which they supplement with the possibly lesser known alternative approach developed by the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) in Germany.This section is compulsory reading as it succinctly illustrate how multi-dimensional rankings can work and why classification is a prerequisite for sensible rankings that ‘stimulate higher education institutions to excel in a variety of domains rather than in one dominant area.’ Chapter 6 (Kaiser and Van Vught) recounts the carefully designed stakeholder co-optation process that was designed to create both buy-in for the classification as well as validate and calibrate its dimensions and indicators. This is a classic tale of how to navigate the proverbial minefield that constitutes the European Higher Education and Research Areas. It also highlights the limitations of information contained in existing national and supra-national databases for classification purposes. Given that the dimensions and indicators used for the classification intuitively make a good deal of sense, this is a sobering conclusion with respect to data-collection practices across Europe. The remainder of the book deals with how this pilot classification can be used at the supra-national and institutional levels. Reichert discusses its potential use in the European Higher Education Area, whilst Gaehtgens and Peter do the same for the European Research Area (ERA). Both are positive, but also point to issues that need to be solved in the future as well as caution against potential misuse, particularly in relation to the ERA (not to be confused with the Australian ERA!).The final two chapters illustrate how the classification can be of use at the institutional level and provide case studies for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Laegreid and Feilberg) and the University of Strathclyde (West and Hansen). Mapping the Higher Education Landscape is an important and timely book for a number of reasons. First, it clearly indicates that the Europeans are deadly serious about pushing their higher education systems forward. The U-Map project, on which the book is vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W based, was funded through the EU Socrates program, and recently the project has received a further boost with the key team members being selected by the European Commission to develop and test an alternative design for a global ranking of universities, building on the classification and the CHE methodology. First results are expected in 2011 (see: http://www. utwente.nl/cheps/news/MGUR/). Given that the scope of this project is not confined to Europe but has a global reach, Australian policymakers at both the federal and institutional level would be well-advised to keep a close eye on the progress of the project and participate in the testing of the methodology. It always is better to assure a fit beforehand than try and adjust a ranking methodology when it has picked up full steam as we have learned from past experiences. Second, the concept of a multi-dimensional classification is an interesting one in considering how a governmental steering approach based on compacts could play out. It is one things to say that institutions will be funded and held accountable for what they actually do, but how are we going to agree on the dimensions and criteria for that? Framing this debate and policy instrumentation in a broader global discussion that also encompasses the US-based Carnegie Classification and not surprisingly has raised interest from our colleagues in Shanghai, might not be such a bad idea. Third, the classification presented is based on a sound understanding of differentiation processes and the institutional dynamics that play out in tertiary education systems.The core group of authors have a sound understanding of both the theoretical arguments and the practical politics when it comes to diversity, indicators and classifications. This not only makes for a very good read, it actually provides food for thought. And one of those thoughts is that it is all well and fine to conceptualise multi-dimensional classifications and rankings, but how does that play out in a system where research is such a dominant driver in terms of status and rewards? The obvious answer to that is the creation of a diverse policy environment, including a diverse reward system, and once again it might not be a bad idea to give the dimensions incorporated in the classification some further thought. Leo Goedegebuure is Deputy Director of the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the Australian Universities’ Review editorial board. Just a bunch of rankers, Review by Leo Goedegebuure 91 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W The Joshua Trees: private schools and the poor The Beautiful Tree: A personal Journey into how the world’s poorest people are educating themselves by James Tooley Cato Institute, Washington, DC, USA, 2009. ISBN 978-1-933995-92-2 Review by Jonathan Sibley We take it for granted that the right to primary education is universal. Living in a country which ranks second to Norway on the UNDP Human Development Index it is all too easy to forget that the universal right to free education was only acknowledged sixty years ago (United Nations 2009a). Here in Australia education is both accessible, and generally effective. We may grumble about teachers’ salaries and school facilities. We may debate the pedagogy. However, our children are, with few exceptions, taught curricula acknowledged to be amongst the best in the world, by trained teachers in safe and for the most part well resourced classrooms. This is not the case for many hundreds of millions of the worlds poor. The inadequacy of primary education for the poor is pervasive and entrenched. A range of regimes in developing countries have, and continue to, fail the poor. The World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People (World Bank 2004) claims public education is so defective for most poor people the opportunity costs outweigh the benefits. As a consequence of this wholesale failure, the ability of all children to complete a full course of primary education is one of the Millennium Development Goals (United Nations 2009b). How then to address the issue? In developing country after developing country governments appear either unable or unwilling to commit sufficient resources to public education and to enforce appropriate standards that would enable children from poor families to attend a well run school staffed by trained teachers. Tooley’s thesis is that the issue is already being addressed by the poor themselves. In a range of developing countries he has found evidence of the sponta- 92 neous emergence and rapid growth of low-cost private schools. These schools typically have very limited facilities, often employing untrained teachers who frequently instruct by rote. However, when Tooley compares low-cost private schools to public schools in the same districts, he finds the private schools are delivering better educational outcomes than those produced by public schools, at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps most tellingly,Tooley observes parents are increasingly refusing to send their children to dysfunctional public schools and are instead opting for local low-cost private schools, and in doing so are accepting the financial sacrifice required. Tooley argues these low-cost private schools are effective because there is a chain of accountability. School owners must deliver to their fee-paying customers. In particular, they must offer the programs that parents want. The mere existence of large numbers of low-cost private schools in jurisdictions in which poor parents have the opportunity to send their children to a free public school is, of itself, sufficient to warrant serious investigation. Tooley’s research indicates the scale of low-cost private education is, in some instances, staggering. In Hyderabad Old City, for example, he finds 35 per cent of schools are public and 65 per cent are low-cost private schools, approximately half of which are not recognised by the government. In several of the poor areas of Lagos State (Nigeria), an estimated 65 per cent of schoolchildren are enrolled in private schools. An even more extreme situation exists in the Ga District of Ghana where 25 per cent of schools are public and 75 per cent are private. In each location visited by Tooley and his team, the low-cost private schools were found to be typically forprofit schools run by local proprietors. Tooley notes The Joshua Trees: private schools and the poor, Review by Jonathan Sibley vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W they exist because the parents of poor children prefer a significant number of places (commonly 10-20 perfree market education? That public education in many cent) are often provided either free or at reduced fees developing countries is failing the poor is widely for the children of the very poor. acknowledged (refer for example Lyamu and Obiunu Tooley argues that, despite the evidence in favour of (2006) for a discussion of public education in Africa, low-cost private schools, development agencies and Watkins (2000) and World Bank (2004) for global overeducation authorities stubbornly cling to an orthoviews). The evidence suggests parents are responding doxy which refuses to accept superior educational to a failure by governments.Tooley’s subtext, however, outcomes, efficiency and parental preference, claimis that, at least in part, the growth of low-cost private ing instead that low-cost private schools attended by schools in poor communities can be attributed to the children of the poor are of inferior quality. He cites these communities considering ‘accountable’ free-marthe 2000 Oxfam Education Report (Watkins 2000) ket education to be inherently superior to ‘unaccountwhich, despite acknowledging the rapid growth in able’ public education. low-cost private education in poor communities conThe final two chapters of The Beautiful Tree are tinues to espouse an orthodoxy of free and compuldevoted to a discussion of the findings from the sory primary education provided by the State.Tooley’s research on which the book is based. It is here the claim is that the development and education commupolitical agenda becomes explicit. The tone and lannities should focus on fostering low-cost for-profit priguage of these chapters is quite different to that of the vate schools. preceding narrative. The Tooley structures the language is less discursive, book in two parts. The Tooley’s subtext ... is that, at least in part, less flamboyant. The adjecfirst ten chapters are an the growth of low-cost private schools tives are reigned in. Tooley odyssey of discovery, tracin poor communities can be attributed proposes a way forward: ing the sights, smells and to these communities considering To loosen regulations and experiences he savoured as ‘accountable’ free-market education to set up voucher schemes. he traversed the world in In an earlier article pubbe inherently superior to ‘unaccountable’ search of the self-educating lished in The UNESCO poor. He takes us on a whirlpublic education. Courier in support of his wind journey through India, agenda of reduced regulaacross to Nigeria, Kenya and tion, Tooley cites inter alia in reference to his research Ghana and then to China, before returning to India, in India the example of the Federation of Private the site of his initial enlightenment. In the process he Schools’ Management based in Hyderabad which has seeks to demonstrate how the poor have established 500 private schools run on commercial principles, servvillage and neighbourhood schools as a means of eduing poor communities in slums and villages. He argues cating their children. these schools ‘suffer under restrictive and inappropriate On each occasion the same formula is repeated. regulations’ (Tooley 2000). He cites as an example the Tooley arrives at the location; there is either general requirement that a school must ‘deposit up to 50,000 disbelief by educational authorities and development rupees in a stipulated bank account, of which neither agencies at the existence of private schools for the the capital nor the interest can be touched. Given that poor, or alternatively the schools are dismissed as the fees charged in these schools ranged from Rs 25 (60 ‘inferior’. Tooley then searches for, locates and visits cents) to Rs 150 per month (about $3.50), with most of the private schools and finds a thriving and vibrant the schools grouped near the lower end of the range, educational environment. Following this he visits such sums are completely prohibitive’. the public schools and finds lethargy and disinterIn support of vouchers he argues that: ‘...if one is est. The odyssey of discovery becomes a mantra to interested in serving the needs of the poor in India, be repeated until learned by heart: ‘Private schools then trying to reform the totally inadequate, cumbergood, public schools bad’. some and unaccountable government system is unlikely A fundamental question, of course, is why these to be the best way. Instead, reform the regulatory envilow-cost private schools exist. Do they exist because ronment to make it suitable for the flourishing of priof a failure of governments to meet their obligations vate schools for the poor, help build private financing and provide quality education for all children, or do vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 The Joshua Trees: private schools and the poor, Review by Jonathan Sibley 93 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V schemes using overseas and indigenous philanthropy, and encourage public voucher schemes, so that parents can use their allowance of funding where they see the schools are performing well, rather than wasting them in unresponsive state schools’ (Tooley 2000). He continues: ‘Private education in developing countries isn’t just about the poor, of course, and there are many exciting examples of big education businesses’. All of which leads to a set of questions: To what extent is Tooley proposing reduced regulation and vouchers because he considers this an optimal path forward in the face of public school systems too moribund to be reformed? To what extent did he hold these views a priori to his examination of the educational issues faced by the poor? To what extent, therefore, is the book principally an exposition of an entrenched political position? Despite his claim that prior to embarking on the research his views were those of the orthodoxy he now dismisses, his odyssey commenced with a consultancy for the International Finance Corporation (an arm of the World Bank) to study private schools used by the middle classes and elites in developing countries.A survey of his previous publications reveals the mantra ‘Private schools good, public schools bad’ precedes his work in the developing world. Tooley has been on a mission to promote a market-centred approach to education for most of the decade prior to his work in India, Africa and China. Early publications such as A Market-Led Alternative for the Curriculum (Tooley 1993b) in which he argues that bureaucratised, centralised National Curricula in the UK should be abandoned in favour of liberating market-led curricula which can empower and facilitate egalitarianism, set an agenda which is continued in subsequent publications, for example: Disestablishing The School (Tooley 1995), How British Schools Can Escape From The State (Tooley 1993a) and Education Without The State (Tooley 1996). It is one thing to argue for unregulated, market-led education in well regulated and well resourced affluent economies. It is another thing again to argue for this is in poorly funded and poorly resourced developing countries. In developed economies in which governments both accept and are able to enact their responsibility to provide adequate primary education, and in which parents have the ability to choose between an adequately funded, resourced and monitored public system and similarly funded, resourced and monitored 94 E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W private schools, Tooley’s agenda is likely to be, at best, an ongoing and pertinent reminder of the need to rein in bureaucracy and to continually re-focus on educational outcomes. However, Tooley’s agenda if enacted in developing countries is potentially pernicious and likely to lead, not to the growth of an inclusive and effective system of low-cost private schools, but the further entrenchment of elites and the ongoing exploitation of the poor. The failure of governments in many, but by no means all, developing countries to resource adequately and monitor their education system provides no argument for abandoning public education. Universal public education is one of the great achievements of the Enlightenment Project. To argue for its abandonment, particularly in situations in which many families struggle to meet daily food and shelter requirements, is simply reckless. In jurisdictions dominated by elites, a system based on market-led education is unlikely to lead to empowerment and egalitarianism, but rather to further entrenching the inability of the poor to enhance their wellbeing through education in an environment controlled by exploitative elites. Whilst it is unlikely to be intentional, the title Tooley has chosen for his book acknowledges this reality. Tooley takes his title from a 1931 speech by Mahatma Gandhi at the Institute for International Affairs in London. It is worth quoting from the speech: ‘…India today is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished’ (Tooley 2009, p. 212). Gandhi is criticising the British administration in India for (in Gandhi’s opinion) the unwarranted destruction of an education system which had existed for centuries. Fra. Paolo Bartolemeo, who worked in Malabar between 1776 and 1789, described the local system, with its focus on training young boys in the occupations of their caste: ‘The boys in the ninth year of their age are initiated with great ceremony into the calling or occupation of the caste to which their father belongs, and which they can never abandon......Hence it happens that the Indians do not follow that general and superficial method of education by which children are treated as if they were all intended for the same condition and for discharging the same duties. …’ (cited in Kamat 2009). The Joshua Trees: private schools and the poor, Review by Jonathan Sibley vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W ers. Montek Singh Ahluwalai, the deputy chairman of The traditional education system was pervasive the Indian Planning Commission and the Indian govacross India. William Adam’s magisterial survey of eduernment’s top ‘policy czar’ is quoted in a recent New cation in Bengal, for example, estimated that there York Times article as saying: ‘Education is a long-term were 100,000 schools in Bengal in the mid 19th ceninvestment. We have neglected it, in my view quite tury (Adam 1835, p. 8). This system was designed to criminally, for an enormously long period of time’ (Senenforce the existing social order, in particular the gupta 2008). concentration of power and wealth in the elite. The The existence of low-cost private schools for the system was not designed to promote equality, freedom poor serves primarily to demonstrate the desire by of thought and individual choice. many poor parents to provide their children with a Tooley’s beautiful tree is, of course, not the withered basic education in the hope their children will be able system of village schools underpinning the functionto go on and lead a better life; and the impossibility ing of caste based occupations, but the blossoming those children will achieve that goal in a system which of countless small independent for-profit schools in demarcates opportunity based on the school attended. poor communities across the developing world. HowEducation is always political and serves to re-enforce ever, by explicitly aligning himself with the traditional the dominant power structures and orthodoxy. The Indian education system, Tooley is implicitly asserting pre-British village-based education system served the the ad hoc collections of enterprises about which he purposes of the caste system. The roots of this system expresses so much enthusiasm are the heirs of a system reach very deeply into the of education, the demise of soil of Indian society and which Gandhi lamented; a ...many teachers in low-cost private schools continue to foster educasystem of which, ironically, are untrained and teach by rote. Under tional elitism and place the basic structure has conwhat circumstances can this be considered insufficient emphasis on tinued into the current era an appropriate education regime? the provision of quality and is the principal cause of education for the children the failure of primary educaof the poor. By aligning tion for the poor in India. himself so explicitly with laissez faire economics and The elitism inherent in the Indian education system, by linking this to a world view which erects massive in place prior to the British and fostered during the barriers to social and economic mobility,Tooley underBritish Raj, has continued into post-independence mines the cause which he so passionately espouses. India. Nehru, for example, was concerned with buildPerhaps most importantly, in the developing couning institutions of higher learning for the elite in order tries Tooley has researched the regulatory reform that India could produce professionals, rather than eduhe advocates to facilitate market-led education will cating the poor. Upper-class Indians have traditionally require fundamental thorough-going improvement in sent their children to exclusive private schools, many the education systems he is criticising. This raises the founded by the British. India spends approximately 1.7 question as to why these improvements cannot be as percent of GDP on primary education, and 3.4 percent readily directed at the supervision of public schools for education overall (compared with about 5 percent as private schools? Within this context, the question for Brazil). Up to 40 million children in India are out of also arises as to the ways Tooley considers a voucher school (Waldman 2003). system will be superior in practice. Voucher systems, In such an environment, there appears to be scant advocated by Milton Friedman, continue to be contenconcern whether the poor are educating themselves, tious. What is the evidence that a voucher system be or whether the quality of the education provided to any better than the current system in these jurisdicthe children of the poor is adequate.A weak, neglected tions? Tooley’s argument is a priori; it does not emerge and underfunded system is nothing more than that, a from either his examination of low-cost private schools weak, neglected and underfunded system.This is fertile or his commentary on the deficiency of public educasoil to foster the development of a second tier informal tion in the countries he has visited. If education syseducational system by which the poor can be left to tems in many developing countries are not improved, find sufficient funds to enable their children to learn the introduction of vouchers will simply lead to the the rudiments of mathematics and English, by rote, in further depletion of public schools and the contininadequate conditions and taught by untrained teachvol. 52, no. 1, 2010 The Joshua Trees: private schools and the poor, Review by Jonathan Sibley 95 A U S T R A L I A N U N I V ued impoverishment of already limited support and governance infrastructures, with no improvement in the overall quality of education for the children of the poor. As Tooley himself acknowledges, many teachers in low-cost private schools are untrained and teach by rote. Under what circumstances can this be considered an appropriate education regime (whether delivered through a public or private system)? The answer is, ultimately of course, political rather than pedagogical. There is potentially great merit in fostering the development of low-cost private schools for poor communities as a means of providing efficient education for those children for whom the State either cannot or will not provide. Whether this should be a replacement for the primary responsibility of the State to provide free primary education, or used as a work around in the face of the wholesale failure of governments in many developing countries to adequately support the education of the children of the poor, is a matter of political perspective. Tooley provides us with an insight into a mode of education, the existence of which few readers are likely to have been aware, let alone to have experienced firsthand.This could have been a wonderful and inspiring book and in parts it is. Tooley has a capacity for narrative and the subject matter is important to anyone interested the power of education to generate conditions which can facilitate the alleviation of entrenched poverty. The evidence in favour of supporting low-cost private schools is substantial. Unfortunately, however, the unrelenting libertarian agenda and the incessant mantra:‘Private schools good, public schools bad’, is simply enervating. This is a shame, for whatever our political lens, allowing millions of children to be condemned to poverty due to a lack of basic education is unconscionable. E R S I T I E S ’ R E V I E W References Adam, W 1835, Report on the State of Education in Bengal, GH Huttman, Bengal Military Orphan Press, Calcutta. Accessed 29 October 2009 at <http:// books.google.com.au/books?id=Sp_BqB1VLkYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inaut hor:%22William+Adam%22#v=onepage&q=&f=false> Kamat, J 2009, Education in Karnataka through the ages, Kamat Research Database, Accessed 29 October 2009 at <http://www.kamat.com/database/books/ kareducation/fluctuations.htm> Lyamu, EOS & Obiunu, JJ 2006, ‘The dilemma of primary school attendance in Nigeria’, Journal of Instructional Psychology, vol. 33 (2), pp. 147-57. Sengupta, S 2008, ‘Push for education yields little for India’s poor’, The New York Times, 17 January, Accessed 29 October 2009 at <http://www.nytimes. com/2008/01/17/world/asia/17iht-17india.9283558.html?_r=1> Tooley, J 1993a, ‘How British Schools can escape from the State: Opting-out of the National Curriculum, Standard Assessment Tests, League Tables and National Inspection in three easy steps’, Libertarian Alliance Educational Notes No. 14, Accessed 29 October 2009 at <http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/educn/ educn014.pdf> Tooley, J 1993b, A Market-Led Alternative for the Curriculum: Breaking the Code, Tufnell Press, London. Tooley, J 1995, Disestablishing the School, Avebury Press, Aldershot. Tooley, J 1996, Education without the State, Institute for Economic Affairs, London. Tooley, J 2000, ‘Private Education: The poor’s best chance?’, The UNESCO Courier, vol. 2000-7. Accessed 29 October 2009 at http://www.unesco.org/ courier/2000_11/uk/doss22.htm> Tooley, J 2009, The Beautiful Tree: A personal journey into how the world’s poorest people are educating themselves, The Cato Institute, Washington. United Nations 2009a, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Accessed 29 October 2009 at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/> United Nations 2009b, Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education. Accessed 29 October 2009 at <http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/education.shtml> Waldman, A 2003, ‘India’s Poor Bet Precious Sums on Private Schools’, The New York Times, 15 November. Accessed 29 October 2009 at < http://www. cs.princeton.edu/~rywang/05s598/docs/031115-000938.india_school/> Watkins, K 2000, The Oxfam Education Report, Oxfam GB, Oxford. World Bank 2004, World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People, World Bank, Washington. Jonathan Sibley in an Adjunct Research Fellow of CQUniversity’s Intercultural Education Research Institute and lectures at CQUniversity’s Melbourne Campus. 96 The Joshua Trees: private schools and the poor, Review by Jonathan Sibley vol. 52, no. 1, 2010 International Summer School: Implementing Bologna in your institution With the 2010 deadline fast approaching for alignment with the Bologna Process, the International Summer School in Cork, Ireland offers you the opportunity to acquire the strategies and tools required to enable the implementation of Bologna in your institution. The Summer School will take place in University College Cork from 5–9 July 2010 and will feature an experienced range of presenters addressing topics focused on the Bologna action lines. Ireland has been very successful in implementing the action lines of the Bologna Process, evidenced by the country’s position at the top of the Bologna Scorecard in 2007, and its second place in 2009. Ireland is also one of the few European countries that has successfully established and implemented a National Qualifications framework. The key people involved in assisting the implementation of Bologna in Ireland such as Dr Declan Kennedy (author of international bestseller Writing and Using Learning Outcomes), Dr Norma Ryan (Irish Bologna expert), Professor Áine Hyland (member of EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Team) and Dr Jim Murray (CEO of National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) amongst others will share their experiences and advise you on the best strategies to facilitate effective implementation. The International Summer School is targeted at policy makers, senior managers, lecturers and educational developers in Bologna countries and countries aligning with Bologna. Please note that it is hoped to provide accreditation in terms of ECTS credits for those who complete this course. For further information and to register go to 120x180 24/8/06 13:02 www.nairtl.ie/summerschool Page 2 194 million children between the age of 5 – 14 years work rather than attend school.* *Source ILO Is it fair? MAKE LIFE FAIR EVERYWHERE, BECOME A GLOBAL JUSTICE PARTNER. Union Aid Abroad APHEDA The overseas humanitarian aid agency of the ACTU Call 1800 888 674 or visit www.apheda.org.au www.aur.org.au Since 1958, the Australian Universities’ Review has been encouraging debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life. Want to receive your own copy of Australian Universities’ Review (AUR)? AUR is published by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) twice a year. NTEU members are entitled to receive a free subscription on an opt-in basis – so you need to let us know. If you are an NTEU member and would like to receive your own copy of AUR, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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